but not our boat with a 63-foot mast. We saw
a small trawler anchored in the Bahamas surrounded by sailboats, probably most of which
were grounded, and only the trawler was hit.
2. Minimizing damage when you’re hit.
While there’s little evidence that you can
prevent a strike, or that you can induce a
strike, for that matter, there’s a vast amount
of evidence that a straight, low-resistance
path to ground will go a long way toward
limiting the damage. My main concern is that
if hit, the voltage finds ground (the sea) with
minimum resistance. The more resistance,
the more it’s likely to jump about seeking a
way out, and in the process do much more
damage. This means straight, relatively safe
conductive runs to ground.
Also, we stay away from stays, large hunks
of metal, and antennae, and wear rubber boots
if on deck and rubber gloves if at the wheel. A
steel boat, in my opinion, is safer because the
entire boat is a conductive path to ground.
3. Damage control. If hit, assume that
you’ve got damage. Immediately, if safe to
do so, start checking. It isn’t uncommon for
lightning to blow holes below the waterline,
ranging from many pinholes to blowing
through-hull fittings out. Also, fires and loss
of electronics are common. Hopefully you’ll
still have a working radio, with which you
should call for help or to advise the Coast
Guard. Get the boat hauled for careful
inspection and survey as soon as you can.
Damage may not manifest until months or
more after the strike.
I have a 24-foot Rampage with Furuno
Navnet system. I want to add a fishfinder.
I bought a black box and a 1-kW sounder,
which is huge. How can I install it inside the
hull? Do I just glass it in?
Don caSey: I think you’re talking about
Inverter vS. generator
the Furuno In-Hull transducer that comes
with a mounting tank. With this type of
unit, the tank is epoxied solidly, without any
air pockets or bubbles, to the inside of the
hull in some location where it will have a
clear shot to the seabed. Then the tank gets
filled with mineral oil, with the transducer
submerged in that. This type of installation
can work well with a solid hull, but some
Rampage boats have cored hulls. A shoot-
through transducer won’t work through core,
so you first need to know whether you have a
solid or cored hull. If it’s solid, the usual trick
to finding a good spot for the installation is to
put the connected transducer in a freezer bag
full of water and lay the bag solidly against
the hull in various spots with the transducer
vertical to see what kind of readings you get.
You are simulating the final installation, with
the transducer submerged in a liquid inside
the hull. This is best tested in fairly deep
water to make sure shooting through doesn’t
degrade the signal so much it limits the trans-
ducer’s depth capability.
Can I use an inverter instead of a generator?
Can the inverter recharge the batteries at the
same time it is providing 110 volts to the
boat? My boat doesn’t have room for a generator, and I’m looking for alternatives.
For a DIy article on how to install
a fishfinder, see www.BoatUS.com/
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