Don’t Get Zapped

John A. Moore of Punta Gorda, Florida, asks:

“Is it true that putting portable electronics like GPS receivers, EPIRBs and handheld radios in the ship’s oven will protect their circuitry in the event of a direct lightning strike?”

Gordon West replies:

Your ship’s oven will, in fact, act like a Faraday cage, and if properly grounded, most anything in it will be shielded from a lightning strike. I’m not sure, though, that I would advise putting your EPIRB inside the oven, because you may want immediate access to this if a lightning bolt blows your keel off.

If you think a lightning strike is imminent, I’d position everyone belowdecks, well away from any metal, with one person holding the EPIRB tightly to their body. If you do have to abandon ship, be sure to have someone grab the portable marine VHF radio out of the oven. You may need it.

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