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Lightning Protection...What do you use?

Old 05-15-2004, 07:16 AM
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Default Lightning Protection...What do you use?

Am considering options for lightning protection while on the hook. Somehow the thought of just dropping the antenna and hoping for the best doesn't cut it for me.

I've read the guidance fom DIY Boat Owner and they state a separate lighting mast with air terminal, conntected to at least 4 ga Cu wire and terminating with at least 1 sq ft of metal in the water. Was thinking of attaching this to the 8' VHF antenna with a fitting slipped over the antenna tip. Would also have secondary grounding wires to the bowrail and hardtop support.

What do you think?
What would you do differently?

Thanks
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Old 05-15-2004, 10:21 AM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

Stick with your first thought.

When you are on the hook in a small boat with no other boats or structures around there is nothing you can do and there is no amount of protection that will protect you or your equipment if lightning strikes. You can drop your antennas & outriggers, unplug your electronics, etc., etc., but if the air is charged around your boat, you will be the lightning receptor (ie target) and when it starts popping the best thing you can do is lay flat on the deck as far forward as you can get in your boat. There are a lot of theories on lightning protection for a small boat and IMO a lightning mast as you described can oftentimes make you more of a target. Your best protection is to get alongside a building or other boat(s) with structure's or masts taller than yours.
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Old 05-15-2004, 01:47 PM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

i use the hair on the back of my neck... then we head
to the nearest oil rig....
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Old 05-15-2004, 03:07 PM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

I use my butt. When it starts to puckerin...

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Old 05-16-2004, 07:13 PM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

Don't be stickin no metal up in the air (to attract lightning)
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Old 05-17-2004, 01:54 PM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

Lightening rods or lightening grounding rods are the STUPIDEST thing anybody ever invented, period.

Think about it. One bolt of lightnening gets to a temperature of about 50,000 degrees and carries enough juice to light a small city for a day. What the HECK is a 2 gauge peice of wire put into the water going to do?? Besides first attact the lightening i nthe first place and making you more likely to get hit, it will then melt, disapear and then allow the other 99.99999999- % of the power go right into your AS_!!!!

There are something like 400 million people in the US today. 250 people get injured by lightening. Those are some pretty good statistics, bring a raincoat, don't fly a kite with your trolling wire, eat our lunch and enjoy the show!!
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Old 05-17-2004, 02:58 PM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

I dunno, Birdy... metal-framed umbrellas come pretty close... especially when combined with spikes in golf shoes.

When you feel the hair on your neck and on your arms starting to stand up, it's time to fold that antenna down and haul ass outta there.

"Oh Lord... if you just get me out of this one, I promise... " has worked for me on numerous occasions.
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Old 05-17-2004, 06:28 PM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

I once lost an old barn, freshly packed with 1,500 bales of hay to lightning. One of the first questions from the investigator was; "Did the barn have lightning attractors?" Took me back for a second, then I realized he meant lightning rods. I don't know of anything that can withstand a direct lightning strike. I once spent the night on a military microwave site on the Austrian/Italian border during an electrical strorm. There were fireballs all over the place and lightning seeked ground. What a show!
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Old 05-17-2004, 07:05 PM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

150sport - Do you think Lee Travino wishes they invented soft spikes 30 years sooner?
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Old 05-17-2004, 10:56 PM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

I'm sure he does!
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Old 05-19-2004, 08:08 PM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

have you all checked this video out from a university researcher?
www.thomson.ece.ufl.edu/lightning/sailboats.ram
his approach seems a little more practical that using part of one's anatomy to detect or dissipate a strike. his conclusion is that there is alot of misconceptions about lightning and that a properly grounded system will not attract a lightning strike.
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Old 05-20-2004, 05:54 AM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

He's wrong. Opposites attract. Voltage and lightning go from negative to positive. If the differance in voltage potential is great enough, there will be an arc (lightning). Also it will take the path of least resistance. If the water you are on is at a certain potential and the clouds above are at a high enough differant potential, there will be an arc between them. Now depending on which one is relatively positive and which one is relatively negative determines if the spark jumps from the water to the cloud or jumps from the cloud to the water. Either way, it's gunna hurt if it goes through or near you. Personnally I'd rather be electrically isolated from the water and the cloud.
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Old 05-23-2004, 09:43 AM
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Default I use the weather report.

I might go out if it says "scattered T-storms." Thunder cells are rarely more than a mile across and unless one forms really close by, you can dodge them.

"Rain with thunder storms" or "...embedded thunderstorms" will usually keep me at the dock because they're harder to see even at night. I also dont like to be out at night in the rain.
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Old 08-01-2004, 10:45 AM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

The idea of lightning rods is to focus the potential difference (voltage difference) at a sharp point. This raises the field (I thinks it's in volts/meter-squared, but that A in college physics was 27 years ago) to greater than the "dielectric constant" of air (Air's innate insulating effect) so that the potential diiference is bled off before enough builds up to allow a strike. Doubt thousands of expensive buildings all over the country would have lightning rods for a dleterious effect.

Whether you can rig one for a boat on the water...dunno! ;?
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Old 08-01-2004, 02:05 PM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

The lightning rod on top of the empire state building in NYC gets hit hundreds of times a year, causing millions of dollars of damage every time. I bet if they removed it, it would rarely get hit.
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Old 08-01-2004, 04:02 PM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

For my 2000th post, I'll say this about lightning...

It don't matter what you do, if you get struck, it will suck = plain and simple.

The best way to deal with electrical storm activity is avoidance. Get the h*ll out of dodge!

I tune my AM radio between stations if I see clouds or when afternoon heat starts kicking up. If you hear crackles (sprites), you've got natural electricity flowing about and it's time to get to shelter before it finds you.

Leave early, fish the morning, then head in when conditions ripen and seek real shelter.
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Old 08-02-2004, 09:08 AM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

what was it that some guy named Ben Franklin did with the kite?
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Old 08-02-2004, 03:08 PM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

Maybe we should take the lightening rods of the reactor containments because you guys say so?

PROPER lightening protection systems work, and work well.

Without "millions of dollars of damage" at every strike.

TRy science guys, it works.
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Old 08-02-2004, 03:31 PM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

I'm with Tidester.
My method of dealing with lightning is avoidance.
When it sparks up, I head for the dock.

Oh... and congratulations on your 2000th post!
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Old 08-02-2004, 05:28 PM
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Default RE: Lightning Protection...What do you use?

BluesFan - 8/2/2004 4:08 PM

Maybe we should take the lightening rods of the reactor containments because you guys say so?

PROPER lightening protection systems work, and work well.

Without "millions of dollars of damage" at every strike.

TRy science guys, it works.

OH YEAH!! Science works REAL good!! Tell that to the poeple on the hindenburgh blimp, the first couple billion dollar Apolo rockets, a couple of space shuttle crews, the engineering crew that replaces the broadcast equipment on the emprie state bldg every few months.... shall I continue...?
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