This is a case where you probably shouldn’t listen to anyone's advice
. Everyone has an opinion, and almost nobody can back it up by a science. Even having years of experience in what to do in buildings (a previous poster) or broadcast antennas (me) has little application to fiberglass
sailboats. Thus anecdotal evidence is no more than bar stories.
My boat is a 45’ fiberglass
sailboat. 69’ mast
, stepped on an encapsulated keel
. No evidence of any bonding or grounding. There was a factory-installed bonding system which was so poorly done as to be completely ineffective. It was removed as I got access to the various wires.
I have been struck by lightning twice, once in Costa Rica
and again in Panama
. Both times completely destroyed the VHF antenna
, so they weren’t just close strikes. The only consistent damages between the two strikes was the VHF antenna
, and the wind
indicator MHU. For example, one strike wrecked the VHF radio
, one didn’t. Same with radar
, loudhailer, autopilot
, MFDs, depth sounder
. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The only mechanical damage ever found was the hydraulic seal in the back stay tensioning cylinder which was charred.
A study I read a number of years ago was based on the number of insurance
claims and the amounts paid out. There was no significant difference in the number of boats damaged between boats that tried to do everything for lightning protection and boats that did nothing. Of the boats that were struck, there wasn’t a significant difference in the amount of damage between boats that tried to protect things and those who didn’t.
My takeaway is to do whatever makes you feel comfortable because you’ll never be able to prove what you did was right, nor can anybody prove that you were wrong.
and a good insurance
policy will provide enough freedom of mind to worry about other things.