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Old 05-16-2013, 07:11 PM   #21
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I am of the opinion that in areas where I boat my risks from a lightning strike are nil as opposed to death by drowning, fire, lost at sea or malfeasance on the part of me or other Captains (or cruising Carnival).
If you're boating in the PNW I would have to agree. Here is a lightning map for the world World Lightning Strikes Map just encase you ever venture outside the PNW.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:01 PM   #22
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This was last week. The best protection, other than not being here, is there any?
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:06 PM   #23
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Engine(s) with mechanical fuel injection or one with "hardened" electronic fuel controls would be a start.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:20 PM   #24
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For those in this thread so concerned with lightning strikes on boats.

Could you please share with the rest of the forum exactly how your personal boat is protected from lightning strike?

Not sure if anyone else cares to know but I sure would.
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:43 PM   #25
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For those in this thread so concerned with lightning strikes on boats.

Could you please share with the rest of the forum exactly how your personal boat is protected from lightning strike?

Not sure if anyone else cares to know but I sure would.

For clarification, the initial question regarding lightning was specifically in regard to a strike on an all electric/solar boat. That was pertinent to the technology being discussed in the original solar boat string. If the boat goes dead in the water in a thunderstorm because the power plant goes up in smoke when hit by lightning there are implications. The subsequent lightning discussion missed the all electric boat distinction and went into lightning in general. Simple thread drift....not all that unusual. This split off thread would be better titled Lightning Strikes on Solar (or all electric) Boats.

To answer your specific question, our boat has mechanically injected engines. If it had electronic fuel controls, I'd want to know what the manufacturer did to harden them for lightning. Depending on what they told me, I might carry a spare control module. I'm confident the current engines would take a strike and keep on keepin' on. Our dock took a huge strike several years ago. Some electronically controlled boats required new controls, some did not. Every boat with mechanical injection started right up.
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:19 PM   #26
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For clarification, the initial question regarding lightning was specifically in regard to a strike on an all electric/solar boat. That was pertinent to the technology being discussed in the original solar boat string. If the boat goes dead in the water in a thunderstorm because the power plant goes up in smoke when hit by lightning there are implications. The lightning discussion missed the all electric boat distinction and went into lightning in general. Simple thread drift....not all that unusual. This split off thread should be titled Lightning Strikes on Solar (or all electric) Boats if your intent was to get it back to the original underlying question.
...and that quickly spun into "So over a 7 year period there were 14 fatalities to people on boats from lightning."

I'm certain they where not aboard electric boats so why not address this to the whole forum rather than just one or two members of it?

According to this thread so far we are all in grave danger because builders are failing to take this issue seriously. After all, 14 people died over a 7 year period from this.

Nothing personally directed at you Skidgear, it's called intellectual honesty.

So, how is your boat protected from lightning and how do the makers of electronically controlled diesel powered cruisers(such as Grand banks) "harden" them against EMP? I ask that because it may lend understanding of the issue as it would apply to all boats, not just electric ones.
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Old 05-16-2013, 10:20 PM   #27
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2 weeks ago there was a big sail cat here at the Key West mooreing field the captain and his wife were both on the boat when his 70 ft mast. took a lightning strike .neither of them was hurt but the boats electrical system was fried last time I saw it towboat us had him in tow on the way to Fort Lauderdale for pull out and repairs
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Old 05-16-2013, 11:59 PM   #28
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...and that quickly spun into "So over a 7 year period there were 14 fatalities to people on boats from lightning."

I'm certain they where not aboard electric boats so why not address this to the whole forum rather than just one or two members of it?

According to this thread so far we are all in grave danger because builders are failing to take this issue seriously. After all, 14 people died over a 7 year period from this.

Nothing personally directed at you Skidgear, it's called intellectual honesty.

So, how is your boat protected from lightning and how do the makers of electronically controlled diesel powered cruisers(such as Grand banks) "harden" them against EMP? I ask that because it may lend understanding of the issue as it would apply to all boats, not just electric ones.
Sure the thread left the solar boat theme when it moved into lightning in general. So what's new. Not clear why thread creep makes folks intellectually dishonest.

As I said previously, my interest is in regard to lightning "hardness" of a solar/all electric boat (not a hybrid). I mentioned earlier that my boat has mechanical injection engines and that's a built in protection. The rest of the boat is typical, although if I see lightning on the horizon, I start yanking what I can out of the basic electrical system. Not sure how effective that is, but I wondered how that could be accomplished in a highly integrated electric propulsion system without interrupting power to the motor...hence the question.

Hardened electronic engine controls are normally shielded...including the wiring harness. If you're really interested in how a specific manufacturer does it, and how well they do it, you'd have to ask them. I'm not particularly interested, as I am comfortable with what I have.
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Old 05-17-2013, 12:12 AM   #29
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Here is an all about "it" link, or just Google it if link doesn't work. Lots of good stuff for our boats if one is so inclined

http://marinelightningprotection.com
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Old 05-17-2013, 01:04 AM   #30
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I'm intrigued by all this, because here in Queensland we have massive electrical storms all through summer and into autumn (fall for US), with literally millions of strikes per hour sometimes, and yet no boat manufacurer here gives any special attention to it. Protection systems are never even seriously discussed. It appears to be accepted nothing will be reliable every time - the chance of it happening to any individual boat is very rare, and the extra cost therefore just not warranted. There appears to be a general view one just ducks for cover and accepts sometimes shit happens. Having said that, I can't recall any instance of news reporting a boat struck. We all live in houses that can be struck as well, but hardly ever are. The odd case has been reported, and vision on the TV news of a house roof with a big hole in it, but once again, the stance appears to be "oh, well...shouldn't hit them again anyway..." Call the insurance co and get on with life.
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Old 05-17-2013, 07:43 AM   #31
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It appears to be accepted nothing will be reliable every time ...
That is my view.

The other way to look at it is that the "vast majority" of injuries or fatalities occur on small open boats - like a 12 foot aluminum fishing boat - being used by a couple of guys on a lake or river.

I haven't bothered to look at the stats that close but a cursory review seems to support the facts that it just isn't that big a deal. Among the threats to our lives and health, getting whacked by lightning on a boat is pretty far down the list, probably below getting food poison from eating a bad squirrel.
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Old 05-17-2013, 08:42 AM   #32
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Back to the initial question - lightning protection on electrically propelled boats.

I don't know of a single production cruising yacht being made anywhere in the world with electric-only propulsion.

There are several day boats being produced - Elco is a good example. These boats have limited.range, never outside of cell or VHF range of Sea Tow.

I think it's a non-issue at this time.

The thread drift may be of more consequence since any modern motor is computer controlled and may be susceptible to a lightning strike?
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:03 AM   #33
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Peter, Rick, Interesting point of view. Our reality doesn't match up with it's so rare that it won't happen to me. As I mentioned earlier, the dock at our previous marina (actually a sailboat several slips down) was hit by a big strike that impacted the entire dock. Last year the flag pole at our present marina was hit and took out all the electronics on the fuel dock. I pulled the power chords to the dock when the huge cell appeared. A fried cat under tow was just mentioned in this thread. Airplane propulsion systems that utilize electronic controls are required to address lightning. I'd agree that fried comm/nav are not a significant concern, although I pull at least one GPS out of the system if lightning is in the area when I'm cruising, and I have a charged portable battery pack aboard at all times.
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:35 AM   #34
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Interesting point of view. Our reality doesn't match up with it's so rare that it won't happen to me. As I mentioned earlier, the dock at our previous marina (actually a sailboat several slips down) was hit by a big strike that impacted the entire dock. Last year the flag pole at our present marina was hit and took out all the electronics on the fuel dock. I pulled the power chords to the dock when the huge cell appeared. A fried cat under tow was just mentioned in this thread. Airplane propulsion systems that utilize electronic controls are required to address lightning. I'd agree that fried comm/nav are not a significant concern, although I pull at least one GPS out of the system if lightning is in the area when I'm cruising, and I have a charged portable battery pack aboard at all times.
Disconnecting from shore power and/or wall outlets is a good safety precaution to avoid getting the electro magnetic pulse (EMP) from the power grid. However, if the strike is very close, the EMP can be conducted into the boat through any antenna and long runs of wire make good antennas. For a GPS you need to disconnect the power and the antenna cable before the lightning gets close.

The systems we develop for the military have EMI (electro-magnetic interference) protection requirements. One recent program had a near strike lightning protection requirement. I think it was a strike 1 meter away. Our Electrical Engineers were saying there was no way we could meet it, but once we ran the numbers it was OK. We meet the requirement mainly because it was a small device and the longest wire in it was 8" long. Also shielded wires help a lot.

Quality power isolation helps a lot. Adding a DC to DC converter to your engine electronics helps isolate it from EMI/EMP.
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:40 AM   #35
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Back to the initial question - lightning protection on electrically propelled boats.

I don't know of a single production cruising yacht being made anywhere in the world with electric-only propulsion.

There are several day boats being produced - Elco is a good example. These boats have limited.range, never outside of cell or VHF range of Sea Tow.

I think it's a non-issue at this time.

The thread drift may be of more consequence since any modern motor is computer controlled and may be susceptible to a lightning strike?
This is getting a bit convoluted given the thread drift and the subsequent thread split. The original premise in the solar boating thread (where this started) was that it's time to go completely solar. My question was in regard to the premise....all solar/all electric...not a hybrid like your boat. A hypothetical question addressing the hypothetical premise, if you will. Might be a non-issue at this time, but I think I read in one of these threads about an all solar great circle (loop?) boat in the works. Seems a fair and timely question to ask of the experts.

When you say "motor", I'm not clear if you mean electric motor or electronically controlled internal combustion. I obviously agree with you that modern reciprocating and turbine engines have an issue if they are not protected...same for electric, I would think. I believe most state of the art diesels are protected to one degree or another. What about the engines in your hybrid?
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:52 AM   #36
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Disconnecting from shore power and/or wall outlets is a good safety precaution to avoid getting the electro magnetic pulse (EMP) from the power grid. However, if the strike is very close, the EMP can be conducted into the boat through any antenna and long runs of wire make good antennas. For a GPS you need to disconnect the power and the antenna cable before the lightning gets close.

The systems we develop for the military have EMI (electro-magnetic interference) protection requirements. One recent program had a near strike lightning protection requirement. I think it was a strike 1 meter away. Our Electrical Engineers were saying there was no way we could meet it, but once we ran the numbers it was OK. We meet the requirement mainly because it was a small device and the longest wire in it was 8" long. Also shielded wires help a lot.

Quality power isolation helps a lot. Adding a DC to DC converter to your engine electronics helps isolate it from EMI/EMP.
Thanks. Yes, I remove all wire connections to a component when I take it out of the boat's wiring system. In fact I even do it for the more expensive components when the boat is in the marina and surrounded by lightning rods.

Flight critical systems on civilian aircraft have been subjected to EMI/Lightning requirements for many years. Same considerations regarding isolation of power supplies. I'm no electrical/electronics expert, but I had a team of them working in my organization and flight tested plenty of these devices (for EMI). I'm surprised at the don't worry be happy approach here.
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:52 PM   #37
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Lightening can do funny things.

Back when I was a kind, lightening struck my dads antenna and it fried the radio. Oh wait, after poking around, it only fried the mic. But too late. He had convinced mom that he had to get a new radio and he wasn't back tracking. Now, I recall he had lightening protection on the coax from the antenna. A dummy load I recall. I don't know if the strike came down the antenna or some other electrical line, but only the mic was fried.

I doubt a strike would take out every electrical system on a boat, all electric or not. But the chances are greater that it could take out some important systems, and especially on an all electric boat taking out the propulsion systems would be problematic. I suppose I'd be more concerned about getting my hearing back, and then fires would be the second priority.
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Old 05-18-2013, 06:40 AM   #38
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Also shielded wires help a lot.

In a new build shielded wiring adds very little cost to the vessel.

Building USCG inspected boats , the only wire we could find that was USCG inspected that met the coastie specks and was shielded was Naval Gun Fire Wire.

Very little added cost when 1,000 ft spools are purchased.

Our lightning method was a heavy copper wire outside all the rigging , held loosely with wire ties that ended in a chain that was dropped into the water when thunder was heard.

Got lucky , so far no strikes.
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Old 05-18-2013, 07:00 AM   #39
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Building USCG inspected boats , the only wire we could find that was USCG inspected that met the coastie specks and was shielded was Naval Gun Fire Wire.

Which "coastie specks" are those?

"Naval Gun Fire Wire"
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Old 05-19-2013, 03:46 PM   #40
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By "motors" I mean electronically-controlled (computer), internal combustion gas or diesel motors. Sorry for not being explicit.
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