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Lightning Damage


Cymbria

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I have a 2008 VLX and three weeks into the summer it was apparently struck by lightning. There were no marks on the boat, but $7,000 later it is working fine. Has anyone else experienced this? How do you prevent something like this from happening again? I don't have a boathouse, would a canopy help? Someone suggested disconnecting the batteries, would this help?

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Most likely it was the tower that got hit, and traced the speakers back to the electrical system. If you unhook your speaker wires and hook up a ground strap to the tower to ground it.

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Over the years we've been caught on the lake in a thunderstorm only twice. Both times we hauled-a** back to the shore & got out of the boat in a hurry for fear that we might get stuck by lightning. But I guess I never really thought it could really happen.

I can't imagine it would ever happen to you again. It's gotta be incredible odds to happen once, much less twice.

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There's been several threads on what to do if caught in a T'Storm ... I've always said haul A$$ back to shore and have someone take the tower down while on the way in.

How was your boat parked ... on land, in the water tied to a dock, on a lift, anchored in the water? Tower up?

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You must have done something REALLY bad Shocking.gif But I don't think you'll ever have to worry about it again. :)

What should one do?

REPENT!!!!!!!!! Biggrin.gif

Then get a hold of Batman Whistling.gif

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Been caught in serious storms a couple of times and could not haul A** back to dock as the water was too rough. We beached the boat and on the way I strapped buoys on the tower with bungees. The buoys were 100% rubber. I don't know if it would have helped but when you have small kids in the boat you will pretty much try anything. We were trying to outrun a fast moving storm from the south when another storm from the North rolled in just as fast. You would not believe the waters we had to get thru when the storms collided.

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We had a similar problem on Lake Sammamish this summer, 4 boats on the same dock had all their electrical systems fried.

I don't think you could prevent anything like that, hopefully insurance covered it for you.

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Maybe ground the tower to something else besides the boat? Why didn't insurance cover it (or why didnt you use your deductible?)?

Insurance did cover it, but my premiums are sure to rise. Thanks

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There's been several threads on what to do if caught in a T'Storm ... I've always said haul A$$ back to shore and have someone take the tower down while on the way in.

How was your boat parked ... on land, in the water tied to a dock, on a lift, anchored in the water? Tower up?

The boat was in the water tied to the dock. The tower was up.

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Been caught in serious storms a couple of times and could not haul A** back to dock as the water was too rough. We beached the boat and on the way I strapped buoys on the tower with bungees. The buoys were 100% rubber. I don't know if it would have helped but when you have small kids in the boat you will pretty much try anything. We were trying to outrun a fast moving storm from the south when another storm from the North rolled in just as fast. You would not believe the waters we had to get thru when the storms collided.

I was thinking of getting a sheet of rubber like a shower curtain and throwing it over the tower when it is parked. Thanks

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Drive a ground rod or two near your dock and connect a welding cable between them and your tower. Use some sort of of quick disconnect clamp at the tower for ease of removal. Properly grounding the tower to earth will help prevent stikes like you had as the (opposite polarity) charge that lighting looks for will be bled into the earth now. This is how lightning arresting systems work. They are there to prevent the strike more than absorbing them.

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Drive a ground rod or two near your dock and connect a welding cable between them and your tower. Use some sort of of quick disconnect clamp at the tower for ease of removal. Properly grounding the tower to earth will help prevent stikes like you had as the (opposite polarity) charge that lighting looks for will be bled into the earth now. This is how lightning arresting systems work. They are there to prevent the strike more than absorbing them.

although the hit was probably a once in a lifetime occurance, i certainly understand your fear of lightning, i hate to even be out on the dock if there is lightning around and i truly hate being the highest point on the lake if caught in a storm.

not sure if this is what electricjohn meant but depending on the depth of the water at your dock, you could put ground rod into the earth under your dock and just run the wire to the tower from there. not sure how you would quick connect it to the tower.

This is not a project i would consider, what are the chances of it happening the first time let alone again.

Edited by Cervelo
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I'm not sure how rare multiple lightning strikes are, but a recent story makes me think that its not that uncommon. One of my fraternity brothers had a grandpa who had been struck twice, both witnessed by other people. Other than being shaken up he was pretty good I believe. Then my fraternity brother was jogging with his grandpa, when lighting struck him instead of his grandpa and killed him. The grandpa was not surprised as he had heard being struck once raised your chance of being struck by lightning.... Dont know if there is any science behind that, but damn, struck twice and almost a third time.....

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My Brother, Dad, and myself owned a large sail boat the mast was 67' above the water. On top of the mast was we had a radio antenna also wind speed and direction instruments. We disconnected the antenna and had a disconnect on all the other electronics. The boat had a ground system built in and was designed to dissipate the energy through the keel. Well when all was done we did get hit and none of the safety devices stooped the damage. Every electrical piece on the boat was cooked. The lightning arched every precaution. I also know someone that was standing on deck of another sail boat that took a hit. He said his hair was standing up and he could not hear anything for a week but no deaths or injury's to any of the crew.

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Last year, we were on the lake when a storm came up and lightning hit close by. I got a good shock through the shifter to my hand. No damage to anything otherwise.

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