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Old 08-25-2019, 01:01 PM   #1
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Lightening Strike

We have been keeping our eyes open for awhile and we are getting close..last week we came a across a local boat that is fairly rare for our waters ...It is a Benford 45 Motorsailer...Steel...she looks to be fairly well built 2004 with low hours...

The selling agent let us aboard and informed us that the boat had been struck by lightening...Batteries where swollen and most inverters etc I’m sure have been damaged..

Apart from the obvious, how reluctant would you be to get involved with such a boat? I also noticed several areas on deck that the paint was cracked and and surface rust was beginning to show, along with Minimal water intrusion around a hatch...

Overall the boat appears very clean ...TY
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Old 08-25-2019, 01:51 PM   #2
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Lightning won't hurt a steel boat other than fry the usual electronics, and those are easy to test. Lightning not a cause of swollen batts (unless caused by fried charger or inverter) nor a cause of bad paint and rust.

Steel is awesome, but dang it you have to chase rust issues everywhere and all the time.
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Old 08-25-2019, 01:56 PM   #3
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Well, I am not an expert on lightning strikes, but at a minimum I would expect to rip out every bit of wiring and start from scratch, which might not be a bad thing depending on how much the wiring had been hacked by POs. I enjoy wiring and electrical work so to to me that does not seem to be a big issue, just materials cost. I have never had a steel boat and so that would be the part that would concern me. You may have problems with through hulls. I have read that lightning strikes on fiberglass boats can damage through hulls but donít know about steel boats. I would have a surveyor that is experienced in steel look at it or a yard that does steel work at least. What engine does it have? Any electronics on it?
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Old 08-25-2019, 02:28 PM   #4
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Isuzu engine..Cockpit Helm Station:

Furuno Navnet 1700 GPS Chartplotter/Radar

Simrad AP11 Autopilot

Raymarine ST60 Wind displayIcom VHF

Bowthruster Joystick control

Ritchie SP5 Compass on Binnacle

Lower Helm Station:

Furuno Navnet 1833C GPS Plotter Radar

Simrad AP11 Autopilot

Raymarine Knot, Depth and Wind

Icom M802 SSB

Icom M602 VHF Radio

Bowthruster Joystick control

Skymate Satellite Communications system
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Old 08-25-2019, 02:32 PM   #5
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About 6 cracks on deck paint finish...the paint crack profile appears to be about 3/16 thick, some type of epoxy I’m guessing, or fairing ( not sure if that’s the correct term) it’s very thick for just paint..
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Old 08-25-2019, 03:15 PM   #6
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Yes it is probably a fairing compound. I would count on replacing all the electronics and electrical systems including the wiring. That is easy except for the actual running of some wires. The paint issues may or may not be related to the strike. If the engine isnít an electronic engine then it may be ok. Depends on how the strike current flowed through the engine or not.
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Old 08-25-2019, 04:10 PM   #7
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I would do a little research first



I don't think the average wire bundle is affected by a lightning strike. . And if it was, simple visual inspection might be good enough.


True.... electronics are often affected, but firing them up and letting them run for a couple days may tell the tale.


I am no expert but I have seen both extremes with lightning...wierd and total damage and very little.


Research, investigation then price adjustment may be a good checklist to follow.
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Old 08-25-2019, 07:06 PM   #8
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Every boat I know of that got hit by lightening or was next to a boat that got hit, blew out all the thru hull fittings. They became "de zincified" in other words the zinc got blown out of the bronze. They all needed to be replaced.
Plus some had swim platform brackets get wasted.
Check all these items carefully.
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Old 08-25-2019, 07:29 PM   #9
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We've been "side swiped" by lightning twice, once in France, once in Panama. In both cases a number of vessels anchored near us also suffered damage. We lost GPS aerials, solar panels and wind instruments. All of it was immediately obvious and I don't think any other damage showed itself later. The boat was wood epoxy.
Steel boats can indeed sink with a lightning strike, we met a couple who had lost their fist sail boat to a direct strike.
It leaves you with more to check but I wouldn't think it would be a deal breaker.
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