The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

Protecting Against Lightning Strikes

Thunderstorm Lightning Over Thea Foss Waterway Boats Tacoma Wash

With our increasing reliance on electronics for navigation, communication and general operation of our boats, lightning is a subject of rather deep concern. In addition to the potential immediate dangers—fire, holes blown through the hull, crew injury—we are now, in the aftermath of a lightning strike, left with a boat that may have no power, no navigation equipment and no means of propulsion.

Today, then, we’ll give some thought to how lightning interacts with a boat and its equipment, and what we can do to mitigate the damage if it does hit.