LPS - LIGHTNING

PROTECTION SYSTEMS

An LPS is a bonding, grounding, and shielding arrangement made of five distinct stages:-

  1. Air terminals

  2. Down conductors

  3. A low-impedance ground system

  4. Sideflash protection

  5. Surge suppression and lightning arrestors for electronic systems

 

The best LPS cannot guarantee personal protection, or protection from damage to sensitive electronic equipment.

 

Also, it is not a lightning prevention system. 

But scientific reasoning and empirical observation is helping develop higher levels of protection for your highly valuable assets on the water.

 

Unfortunately, catamarans are many times more likely to be struck than mono-hulls, but records in the USA, where certain locations are particularly prone to electrical storms (e.g. Florida, where boat ownership is high), show that  monohull sailing boats are about 25 times more likely to be struck than motoryachts.

As we travel the world and fit more LPS systems to superyachts (in Australia, Summer 2016) we learn more about this difficult and elusive art of protecting marine electical systems and personnel from the effects of lightning strike.

Read our 2016 LPS article on the subject, published in the International Institute of Marine Surveyors (IIMS) in March 2016 (page 38-42).

Contact us for a discussion on a custom designed system for your boat.

PROJECT 1 - 34m sloop, LPS
 

This 34m Swan was struck on anchor after the annual Voiles de St. Tropez in October. Almost all electrical and electronic systems on board this complex boat were effected and ultimately had to be replaced.

SeaSystems designed, custom manufactured and installed an improved stage 1-3 LPS system (including the new air terminal shown in photo).

 

Further works included the replacement of:-

  • all twin helm station deck controls (where the lightning struck)

  • all nine battery chargers

  • all four 5kW inverters

  • replacement of two PLCs

  • various other controls and instrumentation elements

PROJECT 2 - 40m three masted schooner, LPS

This large, heavily chartered GRP mono-hulled boat was, unfortunately, struck twice in a year, the second time whilst lying at anchor in Sydney harbour. Almost all electronic navigation and communications systems were therefore replaced two times.

This boat had no lightning protection system at all.

SeaSystems designed, custom manufactured and installed a stage 1-3 LPS system in 2016, including new grounding plates.

Further works included a full magnetic survey as all five on board compasses could not be relied upon for accurate bearings. This was due to weak magnetic fields having been set into the ferrous metal of the boat's structure by the last strike. SeaSystems proposed solutions to all these unusual problems. A third strike this year (yes!) had zero impact as a result of our new LPS !

SeaSystems has offices based in Palma de Mallorca and Falmouth, UK

for mobile services covering the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. 

© 2016-19 SeaSystems (UK) Ltd.