Notices

aluminum boats and lightning

Old 02-15-2007, 07:08 AM
  #1  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Maryland
Posts: 4,057
Default aluminum boats and lightning

I have been on the water several times during a storm when Lightning hit the water close to the boat. Just wondering what happens when your in an aluminum boat?
fishcop is offline  
Old 02-15-2007, 08:15 AM
  #2  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: MA/RI
Posts: 3,915
Default Re: aluminum boats and lightning

www.blacklabmarine.com Answers will be found there.
AlloyToy is offline  
Old 02-15-2007, 08:48 AM
  #3  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Saigon, Vietnam
Posts: 2,199
Default Re: aluminum boats and lightning

Lightning = DC current = surface conducted, so plates won't get damaged
XV2PS is offline  
Old 02-15-2007, 10:54 AM
  #4  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Maryland
Posts: 4,057
Default Re: aluminum boats and lightning



Here is waht Black Lab say, very interesting, but it still doesent adress what happens when the lightning hits the water?


Anthony from Long Island wrote us today:


"Is lightening more attracted to an alloy boat versus a fiberglass boat?"

I respectfully call this the Miami Boat Show question since the one time we did the Miami Show I spent about 50% of my time answering just this question!

First of all let me premise my answer by saying that you are never, ever safe in a lightning storm. You should do everything in your power to avoid being in a lightning storm - including not going out if storms are predicted and running in when the sky turns that ominous dark suggesting a storm is on its way.

Secondly, I know a lot about lightning - I was, as a young man, a meteorologist in the Marine Corps. I know the science behind lightning as well as the danger of it. Beyond my own knowledge I have checked with various experts on the subject including the National Weather Service and a professional yacht lightning consultant as the answer to this question is very important to be correct.

Finally, the answer is that you are safer in an alloy boat than in a glass boat. Why?

Assuming that you are talking apples to apples and that both boats are the same height above sea level there is nothing about aluminum that is more "Attractive" than glass. Air is a great insulator and thus both glass and alloy provide the same shortcut that the lightning is seeking to ground.

Once lightning has found your boat the metal boat provides a very good conductor for the lightning's current to go to ground whereas the fiberglass boat does not. The strike on a glass boat may well run through the boats electrical system which, unfortunately, runs back towards the operator (you!)

Additionally, if you are in one of our boats with either a Hardtop, T-top or Walkaround cabin you are even safer. Lightning consultants encourage you to create a halo of metal or wires around the people on a boat as when the strike hits the current will follow the metal halo away from the operator and crew (You!) and towards the boats perimeter where it will continue along the hull and to ground. All of our superstructures are welded to the boat and thus provide excellent conductivity to ground.

Finally, let me reiterate - you are NOT safe on a metal boat in a lightning storm nor are you safe in a glass boat in a lightning storm. Relatively speaking, though, you are safer in a metal hull than a glass one.

Anthony, I hope that I have answered your question. Please email again, should you have further questions or need clarification.
fishcop is offline  
Old 02-15-2007, 11:40 AM
  #5  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 3,026
Default Re: aluminum boats and lightning

I was struck by lightning in my aluminum pilothouse . . . blew all the damned bottom paint right off the boat and cooked the salmon in the fish box!!!










Chaps is offline  
Old 02-15-2007, 11:53 AM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: FL., GA, CO, Utah, WA, depends. In CA now.
Posts: 9,173
Default Re: aluminum boats and lightning

Chaps - 2/15/2007 11:40 AM

I was struck by lightning in my aluminum pilothouse . . . blew all the damned bottom paint right off the boat and cooked the salmon in the fish box!!!


Were they barbecued? I imagine it saved you a lot of time. Did the fish taste good or like electrical wire?

Lightning hits what it wants. It don't care what it's made of...

solarfry is offline  
Old 02-15-2007, 11:57 AM
  #7  
THT Sponsor
THT sponsor
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: BOEmarine.com
Posts: 17,519
Default Re: aluminum boats and lightning

What I want to know is are you safe swimming during a lightning storm? What if I am swimming and lightnign strikes the water 100' from me...do I get fried? If so then why do fish and ducks never get fried. Always wondered that, hopefully this thread will attract somebody that knows an answer.

Edit - obviously I would never go swimming during a storm, but just let me know if I ever find myself swimming in a lightning storm
yachtjim is offline  
Old 02-15-2007, 01:09 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Canaveral, Florida
Posts: 1,623
Default Re: aluminum boats and lightning

as long as you are completely submerged the lightning will pass right thru you...kinda like hanging from a power line...as long as you dont touch ground ur fine...but when you do look out.
truculenity is offline  
Old 02-15-2007, 01:57 PM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Frogmore SC
Posts: 467
Default Re: aluminum boats and lightning

This is a lot like thinking car tires do somthing to insulate you. If lightning can arc across 5000 feet of air it can go through just about anything. Fiberglass ,aluminum ,wood or you it dosn't matter. If you are worried about lightning go to church.
grassguysc is offline  
Old 02-19-2007, 11:52 PM
  #10  
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location:
Posts: 28
Default Re: aluminum boats and lightning

Just reading through this old thred; figured id give my tow cents. I was in a pool, teaching my younger brother to scuba dive onece and it started raining... no big deal. All of the sudden ther was a flash, and we both got slammed... felt like our whole bodies were convulsing for a few seconds. We think the actual bolt hit the old style metal satellite dish about 15 feet from the pool. We both got out fast and ran into the house. We both had terrible headaches for the next 8 hours, and our teeth felt loose. Other than that, no problems at all... the conductive path does not travel through you when you are submerged, so there is no discreet tissue damage from the electric pathway traveling through your body, but you do become either a donor or reciever of a massive amont of electrons, and its far from a pleasent experience. Now if your head is sticking out of the water or your partially submerged... that might be even less pleasent.
morgan31 is offline  
Old 02-20-2007, 01:23 AM
  #11  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Saigon, Vietnam
Posts: 2,199
Default Re: aluminum boats and lightning

fishcop - 2/15/2007 9:54 PM



there is nothing about aluminum that is more "Attractive" than glass. Air is a great insulator and thus both glass and alloy provide the same shortcut that the lightning is seeking to ground.
That sounds pure BS to avoid the evidence.

You cannot say attarctive but you can say conductive.

Apples to apples, yes, an alloy boat is more likely to get a strike than a FG. Why?

Because yes, strike arcs kilometers, but it will always follow the less inductive path. An alloy plate being top conductor, you get the answer.

Huh, unless why would we need lightning poles on houses?

And apples to apples, you are safer in an alloy boat.
XV2PS is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread