lightning strike sysmptoms help?

bmoodybmoody Posts: 877 Officer
I'm concerned my trailer kept boat (bluewater 2350) has suffered a near strike (within 1ft of the trailer tongue) from lightning yesterday. There are two fist sized divots out of the concrete drive surface, with pieces thrown up onto the trailer mounted tool box and the hood of the F-150 parked nose up to the trailer tongue. No burn like marks, but it does look like my driveway experienced two small explosions.

My one year old Garmin screens won't power up and the Icom m302 screen just flashes and produces no sound regardless of squelch, despite saying it is busy/receiving. I have battery power (12.5v at terminals) and the pumps and spreader light work.

My wife was home yesterday afternoon and said there was a lightning strike close to the house, which shook the house, in the direction of the driveway/boat. It startled her so much that she wondered outside to make sure a tree or the boat wasn't on fire. She noticed nothing at the time, but it was still raining heavily.

What should I be looking for to diagnose/confirm? Any suggestions?


  • FS DanFS Dan Posts: 2,331 Moderator
    Look for melted wiring thru-out the boat. Lightning is weird in its path of travel. My parents tree was hit in their front yard. Found ice cubes with black carbon soot from it frying the automatic ice cube maker in the fridge. Hopefully any problems are pre-electronics and you can recover them with a clean power source. The bad news is that same strike at my parents took 4-TV's, 2-vcr's and the stereo system.
    The good news is its covered on a lot of insurance policies.

    Formerly Catmandew
  • finbullyfinbully Posts: 437 Deckhand
    Sounds like the bolt’s energy found ground where your concrete is blown out. I’d be very surprised if your damage is caused by something other than the strike. Check all of your household electronics too. Things like lights are not usually affected since when they are off their circuit is truly open. With most electronics when we power them off, they are not really disconnected from their power source - they are still drawing some current to maintain certain memory.
  • Salty Dawg44Salty Dawg44 Homosassa, FLPosts: 800 Officer
    Had a lightning hit my boat on its trailer 4 years ago. I had come in from fishing and had just finished the clean-up and was letting everything dry off before putting it away. It hit and blew apart a graphite trolling rod first. Made it look like a crow on a stick, and melted the finish and blew off the guide wraps on another rod. The reels were OK after a thorough cleaning and replacing the burned grease. It knocked out two 8" GPS screens in the dash and the stereo. No visible external damage, just burned out. The VHF radio was all that survived. In my motor the ECU was fried also. Electronics are not safe just because they are fused and turned off. Lightning can still come in from the negative side. My well pump is close by, and it welded the pressure switch contacts together.

    No rain, and the storm was several miles away.


    I may not always agree with what you say,
    but I will always respect your right to be wrong!
  • StankBaitStankBait Posts: 317 Deckhand
    Electromagnetic pulse, just not caused by a nuclear bomb. Lightening does the same thing on a smaller scale. Modern electronics are very easily damaged. If it does not die at the strike it may die later. Sounds like a job for the insurance company. You better check out the motor electronics too.
  • bmoodybmoody Posts: 877 Officer
    I have 12v at the battery, and at the power cord to both Garmin units (although one unit a a burned inline fuse), however neither Garmin will power up. Spreader and pumps work, although I think a couple of the circuit breakers had popped. The bilge runs on the float switch, but not the manual switch (failed switch?).

    Do I call insurance now, or try to disagnose more of this myself? What should I be asking insurance to cover, when I'm not sure what is wrong?
  • finbullyfinbully Posts: 437 Deckhand
    Once you make a claim with insurance it will be difficult to get them to pay for additional damage you may find. I would make sure to discover all of you damage on everything they insure (for example if your home & boat insurance are the same provider).

    I would call your insurance and tell them you will be filing a claim but you are not sure about the extent of the damage - see what they say. There may be a time limit on notifying them. It would be a good idea to document any weather information you can too.

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