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Thunderbolts and lightning, very, very frightening.


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Have any of you ever had your narrowboat or widebeam struck by lightning?  I've read various yachty stories over the years but these have almost always been GRP yachts with a tall alloy mast stuck on top.  When it happens reports of fried electronics seem commonplace.  So what happens on a steel-hulled boat?  Does the lack of a 20 metre mast pointing skyward mean it almost never happens?  Does the steel hull act as a faraday cage and protect everything that isn't electrically connected to the hull, like phones and laptops?  What about electrical appliances that are permanently wired in or plugged in at the time?  And what about solar panels on the roof, or [gulp] your shiny shiny electric propulsion motor & electronics?

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

Yachts on the lumpy water are usually the highest thing around. Boats on a canal are usually lower than trees, buildings and tall people on the tow path. Never heard of one getting struck. Ever.

One of my favourite memories of boating was a 5am warm summers morning on the Llan, along an embankment, heavens opens, absolutely biblical but warm, it was just funny how heavy the rain was, then the thunder started and I was watching the lightning hitting the farm fields to both sides of me, stunning, absolutely stunning.

It then dawned on me, I was stood in a muddy ditch, soaking wet, holding a brass tube, above the surrounding fields, ahh well I thought i wasn't dead so I kept going.

 

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13 hours ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

Yachts on the lumpy water are usually the highest thing around. Boats on a canal are usually lower than trees, buildings and tall people on the tow path. Never heard of one getting struck. Ever.

 

On some canals, the person steering can be the highest thing around.

 

Best to moor up if you find yourself in this position.

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Or get your 5 ft tall wife to steer when there is a storm.

We used to get sudden massive storms when I was bike racing in Oz. Conversations would ensue about carbon fibre lightening strikes etc. Most of guys worked in power industry. I used to ride behind big Jim. Big Jim was 6 ft 8. I assumed it would get him.

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I'm an extreme astraphobic, and cower inside my Faraday cage in thunderstorms.  Once, moored on the Ashby, lightning struck a bush nearby (you could see the burn marks afterwards).  I was lying on the floor with my eyes closed while Mrs Mac enjoyed the storm, as she does.  Later I heard (only heard, mind you) that a boater had been killed at the tiller in the same storm.

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Left the boat at its mooring in France over the winter with the batteries removed - I take them home to keep them charged - and when we returned several fuses had blown, apparently there had been a mega storm and the little shed a few yards from the boat had been struck. Can only imagine that a bit of stray electric had found its way into the boat. Thunderstorms in France can be something scary. We were in one and the hail was like walnuts / plums / marbles, take your pick, damaged boats and cars and the local paper had a picture of a barn with an asbestos type roof that looked as if it had been machine gunned.

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22 minutes ago, dixi188 said:

On the K&A near Hungerford a few years ago a storm hit us with flashes all around. No time to moor, so I just put the boat in neutral and ducked inside 'til it passed.

 

Good call. Unless someone coming the other way did the same. But then a dent is better than a death.

 

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