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Marine Lightning Protection


NFPA 780

    The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is one of the foremost authoritoes in the world for lightning protection standards. Chapter 8 in NFPA 780 deals with lightning protection of watercraft.  The NFPA 780 technical committee that revises this standard every four years contains many experts in the field of lightning protection with representation from academia, defense labs, telecommunications, insurance underwriters and equipment manufacturers.  See page 1 of the NFPA Report on Proposals (ROP) for a full list of members of the technical committee.

     During thoe 2008 revision cycle, Dr. Thomson of MLP attended two meetings.  In the first meeting he gave a presentation to the committee  addressing some fundamental problems with existing lightning protection standards for watercraft.  These problems are described here.   The committee agreed that there were issues.  In preparation for the second meeting, he rewrote major sections in Chapter 8 and submitted a complete revised chapter for consideration by the committee.  The standard is now published and can be purchased in print or pdf form from NFPA

     There are fundamental departures in the NFPA standard from the ideas presented in ABYC TE4 and ISO 10134, which have not yet adopted the concepts used for building protection.  In addition to a new overall direction, NFPA780-2008 also gives new technical details that are needed in implementation.  For example, when using metals different from copper as part of the lightning protection system, we can refer to tables that give acceptable cross-sectional areas for stainless, silicon bronze and aluminum.


Marine Lightning Protection Inc.

3215 NW 17th Street
Florida 32605
Phone: +1 352 373-3485    Email:    URL:
Please call or email if you have any questions.