A question that dwells many superyacht owners is how vulnerable are we when a storm hits? How exposed are we to be hit by lightning? Whether the odds are high or not, a superyacht being hit by lightning could arrive with a hefty price for damage repairs.
The odds of lightning striking a yacht is said to be once every 30 years. However, in US published reports the annual average for 100 deaths due to lightning, 13 of them are aboard boats. The tops tips for a situation to ever happen is to first ensure that your crew and passengers are safe then check the integrity of the hull, propulsion systems and communications and navigation systems is in order.
There are steps that can be done to avoid or simply minimise the damage. Lightning would target antennas, tower or any elevated electrically conductive surfaces – there is a way to prevent a lightning strike, however, a safe path can be created for lightning to travel by creating a short circuit to ground the lightning strike. There are products in the market that are specifically geared to help prevent lightning strikes, for example, Marine Lightning Protection (MLP) specialises in lighting grounding. The founder DR. Ewen Thomson was a sailor and lightning researcher before combining the two together and creating The Lightning System and a range of products.
A UK based firm; Blue Bear System Research and Createc created an interesting piece of technology that was originally designed to measure radiation and maps room in hazardous environments but Easyjet uses the systems to fly around the plane with use of lasers to locate damage caused by lightning strikes. As the technology is also a drone, it can be used for other maintenance related tasks like transporting spare parts and possibly ever look for other damages in difficult spaces.
Blue Bear’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Yoge Patel, said: “Our RISER system is a game-changer within the world of autonomy and commercial aviation. However, it is not just limited to aircraft inspection – it can be used to examine ships, buildings, structures and other vehicles too.”