Go Back  The Hull Truth - Boating and Fishing Forum > BOATING FORUMS > The Boating Forum
Reload this Page >

what happens when a boat gets hit by lightning?

Notices

what happens when a boat gets hit by lightning?

Old 02-21-2014, 07:15 AM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 166
Default what happens when a boat gets hit by lightning?

Ive always played it safe when it come to thunderstorms, but last year one caught us a bit off guard. It made me start to think, what would happen if my boat got struck by lightning? I imagine it would be catastrophic, but really don't know.

for reference, I have a 02 hydra sports 2390 CC with the Kevlar reinforced hull and a t-top, that always has rods in it, many are graphite, which I have heard is an excellent conductor of electricity.... on this particular day the graphite rods were literally buzzing, making a static like sound.

so, if i get struck, what can I expect, other than, i am assuming, serious injury and likely death, or is the boat grounded somehow? I have heard that if you are in a car and it gets hit by lightning, your safe inside as the electricity goes to ground through the cars tires. is there a similar outcome on a boat?

I know nothing about this stuff, and i should. any input appreciated.

Thanks guys!
eseae is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 07:18 AM
  #2  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Vero Beach
Posts: 2,870
Default

Varying factors are endless.

Everything from death to nothing.

Electronics going out, holes in fiberglass, you name it.
Think Done Deals is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 07:26 AM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: East Coast
Posts: 4,974
Default

Thunderstorms freak me out on the water. Wind,rain,,fog,waterspouts .... I can deal with. Lightning..... I always feel like the next strike always has my name on it.
ShaftINIT is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 07:32 AM
  #4  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
THT sponsor
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Lindenhurst, New York
Posts: 7,745
Default

could be as bad as the failure of every single electronic component down to neutral safety switches, as mentioned holes in fiberglass, charring, stainless getting "burnt" and stained
Raybo Marine NY is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 07:38 AM
  #5  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Marlin009's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: West Coast FL
Posts: 15,041
Default

Here's one from last summer.

http://www.thehulltruth.com/dockside...ng-strike.html
Marlin009 is online now  
Old 02-21-2014, 07:42 AM
  #6  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Destin FL
Posts: 2,488
Default

I am one of the very few that have experienced this first hand at a very intimate level. It hurts to even bring it up sometimes but I will provide you with this link to the newspaper article. this happened to me the summer before last

http://satellite.tmcnet.com/news/2012/08/22/6527945.htm

by the way, the boat came out okay. It tripped some breakers but that is all.

-preston

Last edited by gamefish25; 02-21-2014 at 07:54 AM.
gamefish25 is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 08:01 AM
  #7  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Miami FL
Posts: 3,032
Default

I was traveling from Bimini to the keys with my grandparents in one boat, 47 Bayliner, and our friends in a 57 sunseeker.. Weather was shit, the Bayliner looked like it was going to roll over.. Anyways, I was in the sunseeker and we got hit by lightening.. It killed all the electronics on one circuit (autopilot, one gps etc etc) but nothing else happened. The boat was static charged though for a while.. would shock the sh*t out of you to. Either way it sucked
Castrohasanafro is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 08:03 AM
  #8  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Ft Lauderdale Area
Posts: 302
Default

Guy I work with had his boat struck on a trailer in his driveway. Made a nice burn Mark and completely fried anything with a wire to it. His insurance company paid a ton to have everything replaced and the boat completely rewired.
Tango391 is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 10:01 AM
  #9  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Northern Neck, VA
Posts: 5,385
Default

ii have seen two that after a lightning strike looked like someone shot the bottom with bird shot.
rocksandblues is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 10:18 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: North Shore, MA
Posts: 2,093
Default

Originally Posted by gamefish25 View Post
I am one of the very few that have experienced this first hand at a very intimate level. It hurts to even bring it up sometimes but I will provide you with this link to the newspaper article. this happened to me the summer before last

http://satellite.tmcnet.com/news/2012/08/22/6527945.htm

by the way, the boat came out okay. It tripped some breakers but that is all.

-preston
Wow are you one lucky SOB!! Glad that your story had a "happy" ending! That is some story!
Zardoz is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 10:48 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Wrightsville Beach, NC
Posts: 1,650
Default

A brand new Bertram got struck at the neighboring marina two summers ago. Hit one of the VHF antennas on the top of the tower. It splintered that and fried EVERY electronic on the boat. All the wiring had to be re-done and replace all electronics.

I can't remember if it was owned by the marina (marine max) and for sale... Something makes me want to say it had recently been purchased... Either way, I hope they had insurance
Reel Costa is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 10:50 AM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Boston, MA, USA
Posts: 131
Default

I was a passenger on a whale watch boat that got hit by lightning. I was holding onto a steel door frame when it happened. It felt like I got punched in the face. My hands and face were numb and then really tingly (pins and needles) for about six hours afterwards. A crew member told me that all the electronics on the bridge were shot. It's not an experience I want to repeat.

Since then, whenever I've been caught in a possible thunder and lightning storm, I do the following to prepare;
1-Pass out PFD's to everyone aboard
2-Lower any "high points" (rods come out of the holders and go onto the deck, VHF antenna comes down, etc.)
3-Decide where you're going. If there's a marina nearby head to it, even if it's not your home port. In a pinch, beach the boat. Remember, safety may take you further way from home.
4-Once you've decided where you're going, run like hell. Go as fast as you can safely go. I pay no attention to no wake zones, etc.

This list may be incomplete, and other people may do something differently, but it works for me.
Capt Charlie is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 11:02 AM
  #13  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Annapolis
Posts: 1,929
Default

The list of variables is nearly endless, making hard scientific observation very difficult. The more we learn, the more we need to learn.
Lightning can go up or down, or sideways from cloud to cloud. It is affected by the size moisture levels and temperatures of clouds, conductivity and proximity of ground structures, and the location of underground cables, even in shallow water, There are some observations that remain sort of consistent across a selection of cases, but for the most part all we can reliably say is that lightning results from an imbalance of electrical charges between two masses. Lightning wants to follow the shortest path to restore that balance. That may be via any tall object outside of a theoretical cone of protection around a taller object. The very short lived electrical connection follows a path or pattern through electrically conductive materials, and is accompanied by a blast of EMI that can fry nearby circuits much the same as the way a transformer produces a current in a coil that is not connected to the supply side. This is why electronics can be destroyed at the chip level when they are some distance away from the strike path and not electrically connected, This is also why electronics can be protected in some sort of Faraday device, unless they are physically connected to the strike path.

So here are some suggestions:
Be short. Or at least be shorter than something else nearby.
Don't be part of a circuit, or even very near a part of a circuit, like a tree. It's filled with moisture that instantly turns to steam and blows up.
put you idle electronics in a microwave, or a wrapped up in copper door screen. Don't leave these plugged in!
There is a theory that if you give the strike an easy path to ground it will discharge safely. There are enough instances where this didn't work to keep me from placing any trust in the idea. Getting into a car and closing the doors and windows does work (a car is a Farraday cage that channels the EMI around it, while the tires keep the car from being part of the strike path.

In theory, a lightning strike has an entry and an exit. A VHF antenna serves nicely as an entry point, but surveyors report many cases where an exit point could not be located. It's nice when lightning leaves holes in places you can see and fix. It's not nice not knowing what should be repaired!
sandyda is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 11:21 AM
  #14  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Destin FL
Posts: 2,488
Default

Originally Posted by Zardoz View Post
Wow are you one lucky SOB!! Glad that your story had a "happy" ending! That is some story!
Thank you! Yes, we were quite shaken up for some time. It was a blessing we lived
gamefish25 is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 11:23 AM
  #15  
29A
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Maryland
Posts: 738
Default Beached Boat Hit by Lightening

I boat on the upper Chesapeake Bay where storms can come up quickly. A number of years ago a couple were out on a small (aluminum I believe) boat when a storm came up. They beached the boat on a small, low lying island at the mouth of the Gunpowder River and got under the boat to get out of the rain. Both were killed when lightening struck the boat.

We used to have a 21' sailboat on the bay. The mast was grounded to the metal centerboard. We never got caught in a bad storm, but if there was a chance of lightening, everyone stayed low in the boat and away from anything metallic.
29A is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 01:34 PM
  #16  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Northern Ohio
Posts: 15,216
Default

This is what happens when a graphite fishing pole gets hit.
Attached Images  
RussH is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 01:44 PM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Trinidad, W.I.
Posts: 528
Default

A couple years ago a guy I know his couple of months old brand new Bertram 67 was fishing on our north coast and got hit by lightening. From what I hear all the electronics immediately shut down but the engines were still running. They went into the engine room and hit the 'reset' button and the engines then died. They had to be towed back to the marina. They shipped the Bertram back to the US and Bertram repaired all the damage (probably at a cost I'm not sure). I think some but not all of his electronics were fried, including the flat screen in the saloon.

Name:  image-1521221593.jpg
Views: 2751
Size:  492.9 KB

That's her.
Spectrum2002 is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 03:21 PM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: NE CT
Posts: 1,108
Default

Repaired an Irwin sailboat at the factory back in '82. Was underway when struck. Fried & completely severed the 0 gauge grounding cable that went to the keel bolts. Made a huge hole in the keel all around the bolts and threw debris around the bilges under the cabin sole. Not pretty.
frugal boater is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 03:21 PM
  #19  
KDM
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
KDM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Lake Charles, LA
Posts: 5,219
Default

Was sitting in the salon of a 65 Hatteras in Fourchon at the dock. Bad thunderstorm rolling in off the gulf. We got struck with a side bolt. Went in thru the VHF antenna. Fried all electronics in the enclosed bridge and a 5 A/C units down in the engine room. Never did find where it exited the boat. 30.000 dollar insurance deductible!!!!!!! Was an ugly end to an awesome fishing trip!!!!
KDM is offline  
Old 02-21-2014, 03:40 PM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Lafayette, La.
Posts: 3,921
Default

Late 70s my cousins were fishing offshore in a 23 Mako(one of the old good ones) with twin outboards. Lightening hit the VHF antenna and splintered it completely. Everyone on the boat was knocked out for a short while and couldn't hear for about 3 hrs after that. One of the engines went out and they limped in with one. No GPS to worry about in those days but the compass got them in ok. I don't remember if there was any other damage to the hull.
Mike
beenie is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread