Propane

Mount your propane tank outside the hull, so if there is a leak it goes into the Ocean. Mine is mounted on a platform under the wind vane at the stern, and has been in this location through many Ocean passages without corroding - it is aluminum.


We have only one tank and when it runs out we go to restaurants until it has been refilled. This way we don’t have to find a safe place for a backup tank. Tanks in sealed lockers have caused many boats to explode, because the owner forgets to tighten the connection properly and there are always small gaps in the through bulkhead holes. Tanks in the cockpit are a no-no as any small leak will accumulate gas in the cockpit unless the boat is underway. At anchor, the gas may leak into the boat while you are away. Mount a pressure gauge at the tank and turn the gas off at the tank immediately you have finished with it. Check the pressure an hour later or when you return to the boat. I don’t use an electric solenoid valve to open the flow of gas from the stove position, because I always walk to the back of the boat to turn on the gas anyway. 

 
Lightning

You won’t be killed if the mast is struck by lightning. Last year no-one in the USA was killed inside a sailboat. People were killed in fields, in open boats, and in buildings, but not inside a sailboat.

The likelihood of being struck by lightning is highest in Florida, where one out of three sailboats is damaged during its lifetime. In the Ocean you are pretty safe. In the tropics there are often thunderstorms, but not nearly as many as on the East Coast of the US.

If the boat does get struck by lightning all your electronics will be damaged, and even your engine bearings, unless you provide a safe path for the lightning from the mast head to the water. If you lose all your navigation devices at sea, and all your communications devices you will soon learn what it is like to be an old time sailor. I hope you have a backup plan or dig out the sextant and sight reduction tables. You will need to know the time to the second.

Read my article on Lightning.pdf.

Remember, lightning strikes happen to airplanes every day, and they are undamaged. But a lithium ion battery fire forced the grounding of all Boeing 787s in Feb 2013. Beware of Lithium ion batteries in your computers. Don’t leave them charging unattended. Computer batteries caused an average of 360 structure fires per year with 9 civilian injuries, and $16.6 million in direct property damage.