It is said that lightening never strikes the same object twice; well it does not have to, once is enough to destroy beyond salvation. This is much true about your home as your boat. Yes, your boat too can attract lightening and can suffer major damage. The voltage so formed can easily travel from the mast through the hull and in its attempt to reach the water, can blow a hole in the boat. Therefore, it is important to have it fitted with suitable lightening protection mechanisms so that the boat is at least safe from such dangers.
The conventional lightening protection system for boats is actually a metal a structure in which, all parts are bonded together and carry the same electric potential. Such structures, when fitted to the vulnerable parts of a boat attract and carry the lightening strike to the ground in the same way as lightening rods save your home. Such a structure is often called Faraday’s Cage after the famous 18th century scientist Michael Faraday.
Installing lightening protection systems is no laymen’s job. Have it installed by a qualified marine electrician so that the work is done faultlessly. You not only need to have the device installed on the mast, but also to other major metal masses such as engines, railings, arches etc. It is important to have it positioned correctly so that current can easily be transmitted out of the boat. Moreover, it is also important that the devices are tied with low resistant wire because those wires will ultimately conduct the lightening away from the boat. There are so many technical details.
However, even as the lightening is being conducted away from the boat into the water, you can have side flashes both inside and outside the boat. This may damage the boat quite severely. That is why people now are thinking of static dissipative techniques so that the boat can be saved from lightening discharges all together.
Therefore, instead of conventional lightening protection system that attract and carry away the electrical current caused by lightening, you can have static dissipator installed in your boat. Such a device discourages the lightening from attaching itself to the protected structure. However, such devices too require professional installation and so call a marine electrician to do the job.
Lightening protection mechanisms such as these are still undergoing experimental tests, but many people have found them to be quite effective. If you look for them, you will see them installed not only on boats and steamers, but also on high bridges or similar other structure.
The proponents of static dissipative theory place them high on the list of different lightening protection systems. Then again, others prefer to rely more on the conventional mode. It is up to you to choose what kind of protection you would rather have. Whatever it is, always remember that the voltage involved is so high that the materials that are usually considered as non-conductors turn into conductor. Therefore, be careful.