This is a really very good question! I don't actually know all the answer, but I can offer a few things
Ships get struck all the time, as do aircraft. Being metal, folk within are
protected (Faraday shield effect) even if there is damage to the structure.
devices as used on buildings, connected to a grounding strap have an array of sharp points, designed to
cause the air to reach corona breakdown point very quickly when a charged cloud is over. Well before any
strike, the discharge glow starts, and dissipates the local field by generating ozone and other gas
ions. I think the idea is that if there is to be a strike, it will hit someone elses highly charged
I have always wondered if these sharp points building up a cloud of ions in the air above
actually amounts to a lightning attraction device, but I am assured that a sharp point like that
immediately and dramatically reduces the potential of the rest of the connected bits.
grounding strap is a safety device designed more to ensure that a major strike will track a reasonably
safe route over ceramic, brick and other fireproof surfaces, than to survive the strike itself. That
said, most minor strikes may not do more than bend it a bit , or melt a few spots.
design of safety strap route, its location, and what might connect to it where is not trivial. There are
specialist outfits doing just that.
Protection of the ship is one thing, protection of any RF kit
onboard is another. GRP vessels are going to be prone to fire. My guess is that a highest point set of
ioniser spikes connecting to a thick copper strap, secured over a path of ceramic tiles, down over the
side, might be the main feature.
Choke baluns, or even a few turns coiled into the coax can
provide enough impedance on the coax outer that a strike transient produces a voltage pulse enough to
break down a intentional spark gap in purpose-designed connectors on the antenna side. Thus a strike can
be made to track elsewhere, maybe destroying the upstream cable in the process, but behind the
impedance, the kit can survive.
Lightning is a great destroyer of RF kit connected to antennas,
but by using spark gap protectors, chokes, coupled with overvoltage protection semiconductors at the kit
end, is maybe what is needed.
I do admit that all this is gathered over time from discussion
among working pals. I may even be misinformed. If there is anyone out there who *really knows*, able to
speak with authority, and is willing to share some knowledge for free, please do..