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Old 09-06-2016, 01:58 PM   #1
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IF Lightning Hits A Boat?

Question: Looking to purchase a boat that Was hit by lightning several years ago(2010). Should this have been disclosed? It is an older boat, 1990, and most every piece of electronics was replaced - looking at the invoices. Should that give me piece of mind, or is it "Buyer Beware?" Found out about the lightning while asking some questions of the Company that installed the electronics. Some electrical issues presented during the survey, tripping breaker underway on Generator while calling for AC. Surveyor says, "neutral / grounding issue and Boat needs a good going over from a reputable Marine Electrician." What Say the Forum? The boat did cruise quite a bit up until about 3 years ago.
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Old 09-06-2016, 03:17 PM   #2
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I dunno...maybe having to go through the system in any case could be a good idea. Mine was hit somehow a couple of years ago while I was standing in the veranda. Anything 12 V was shot except for one bilge pump, windlass and bow thruster (although relays were toast). Genset windings had a hole through them, and 2/3rds of the wiring and especially wire ends were toast. Charger survived as did batteries but inverter didn't. It's really hard to figure how some things cooked and others were OK. Look at it good.
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Old 09-06-2016, 03:28 PM   #3
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Larry, was that covered by your insurance?
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Old 09-06-2016, 03:44 PM   #4
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Is there any way to install either lightning rods or surge suppressors to protect a boat?
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ransom View Post
Question: Looking to purchase a boat that Was hit by lightning several years ago(2010). Should this have been disclosed? It is an older boat, 1990, and most every piece of electronics was replaced - looking at the invoices. Should that give me piece of mind, or is it "Buyer Beware?" Found out about the lightning while asking some questions of the Company that installed the electronics. Some electrical issues presented during the survey, tripping breaker underway on Generator while calling for AC. Surveyor says, "neutral / grounding issue and Boat needs a good going over from a reputable Marine Electrician." What Say the Forum? The boat did cruise quite a bit up until about 3 years ago.
Thanks,
KIM
I'd say, "Boat needs a good going over from a reputable Marine Electrician". It has a history of lightning and it has some current electrical problems. The fact it cruised regularly two years after the lightning strike is a positive but one doesn't know how much things like AC and the Generator were used. Lightning can be deceptive and items you don't think were damaged, be found later to have been. Healhustler's experience is what I've seen with boats I've heard of being struck by lightning.
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:35 PM   #6
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There are lightning rod systems available. From my point of view, although not an expert, I doubt they do very much if anything.
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:52 PM   #7
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Deciding what type of lightning protection works best is much like deciding what kind of witchcraft works best.

To the OP, I would not be too worried about a long ago strike. Get a good inspection and have any issues fixed. Lots of local boats have been hit, they just fix stuff and motor on.

On boats with lots of digital systems, that can be A LOT of fixin!!
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:56 PM   #8
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Thanks Ski,
Makes Good Sense.
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Old 09-06-2016, 04:56 PM   #9
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Friend with a GB 42 was hit by lightning. Took months to get all fixed. Then against popular belief he got hit a second time.
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:17 PM   #10
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You don't even have to get hit.a nearly strike can do lots of damage..
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:25 PM   #11
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Lightning rods do work its just finding a good ground that's the hard part .
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:30 PM   #12
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Lightning roods do work its just finding a good ground that's the hard part .

Bruce anchor and all chain rode.
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:33 PM   #13
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Lightning roods do work its just finding a good ground that's the hard part .
Actually from what I have read they really dont.

Especially for moving boats or boats in moving water.

It is the Faraday cage with enough copper or equivalent that carries the charge safely around everything that does the most good.

And like I posted, a near miss can do as much damage electrically than a direct hit.

A direct hit can do structural damage and needs a way to go from the high point to the water....preferably not through the hull.

Because all the conflicts in scientific research and all the disputes of what is adequate protection...lightning is the one part of mother nature that I love to see, but not too close as I can't bring myself to head off in any direction for prevention.
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:45 PM   #14
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Check http://www.marinelightning.com/

They have fixed lightning terminals for boats...
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
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To the OP, I would not be too worried about a long ago strike. Get a good inspection and have any issues fixed.
I would agree with that. Lightning strikes mostly affect the electronics, and you said those had all been replaced. If you really want to be super cautious, get the boat pulled and check the thru-hulls for any change. Tap them with a hammer, and if flakes of metal come off, then replace them. That can be expensive, but not near as expensive as a sunk boat. :-)

But most likely not a problem if none have shown up before now. From experience I will say that a BIG fuse should be put in the battery line if not one there already. I use a 300 amp fuse. Exploding batteries make a big mess in the engine room.
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Old 09-06-2016, 06:47 PM   #16
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Back in our sailing days our Cape Dory 28 was struck. Insurance covered the damage. My base loaded VHF antenna was crystalized, also radio, depthsounder, knotmeter. The grounding system took a lot of the voltage out thru the sea cocks, etched some eerie patterns in the bottom paint. Midship 12" below the waterline the fiberglass was crystalize in a 2" x 12" area that was water tight till it was discovered in the travel lift, slight pressure from my finger poked a hole right thru the hull. Also in the stbd sail locker there was a hole similar to a 12 gage shotgun would make as voltage went to ground. Insurance agent told me the boat was hit by a" side streamer " a direct hit will usually sink the boat because the force will blowout the seacocks.
Ransom, I'd say your boat should be a safe buy because troubles caused by the strike would have shown up by now.
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:22 PM   #17
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Wow!! Great Story!! Thanks for Sharing. Mother Nature is a Tough Mother. I believe after a Marine Electrician chases down a few things it could still be a Contender - Price being a consideration.
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:59 PM   #18
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Mine was struck and it was fubar, only thing left was the hull, rudders and blocks/heads.
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Old 09-06-2016, 08:46 PM   #19
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I assume a fiberglass boat and not a steel one. Is that correct ?
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Old 09-06-2016, 08:54 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ransom View Post
Question: Looking to purchase a boat that Was hit by lightning several years ago(2010). Should this have been disclosed? It is an older boat, 1990, and most every piece of electronics was replaced - looking at the invoices. Should that give me piece of mind, or is it "Buyer Beware?" Found out about the lightning while asking some questions of the Company that installed the electronics. Some electrical issues presented during the survey, tripping breaker underway on Generator while calling for AC. Surveyor says, "neutral / grounding issue and Boat needs a good going over from a reputable Marine Electrician." What Say the Forum? The boat did cruise quite a bit up until about 3 years ago.
Thanks,
KIM
It's a roll of the dice.

But if it's been 6 years since the strike and they have been fixing any issues that have cropped up in the meantime, you are probably OK.

But with electrical/electronic gremlins you just never know.
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