Systems+Engines

Strike out

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Bob Graveline of Bismarck, North Dakota, asks:

"Last summer my 34-footer was hit by lightning when it was sitting unattended in my marina slip. The boat was plugged into shore power when it was hit, but it was not drawing power. Do you think that having a boat plugged into shore power increases, decreases, or has no effect on the chance of damage from a strike?"

Nigel Calder replies:

I'm not an expert on lightning, but I've talked to many people who are, and I do have some thoughts on the subject. I think the chance of being struck and damaged by lightning is greater if a boat is plugged into shore power. My reasoning is that the power cable can act as an antenna and bring the lightning energy on board by way of the cable.

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