Many years back, I worked for a well-known marine supply in Seattle, Washington on the store’s engine and electrical parts counter. It had been while working there, which i witnessed some truly scary occurrences with shore power cords and all sorts of were ONE HUNDRED PERCENT preventable.

One of the biggest offenses I witnessed was, at intervals of every couple of weeks, someone will come in looking for a replacement 50 amp shore cord end. This always raised red flags at our counter. Inevitably, we’d find out the customer had fished a “perfectly good” 50 amp shore cord from the dumpster. believing that the scorched/burned/melted end was all that was wrong, these were just looking to exchange the finish. Folks, it had been probably in the dumpster for any reason. We repeatedly told customers, as well as demonstrated on several occasion, that many times the insulation on the wire had become embrittled from the heat and would crumble to dust for several feet support the cord. This would likely lead to a short circuit after a couple of flexes and potentially a fire.I know no one wants to pay $500+ dollars for a shore power cord, but sometimes it is not only necessary but highly recommended for safety and protection against marina fires.

We’d also see people attempting to replace their 30 amp shore power ends because the ends had become charred/melty/ or something like that. This usually occurred during the winter months (often even with 50 amp cords). At fault? Usually some combination of electric heater being used aboard the boat. Consider it. If you’re on a 30 amp service and you’ve got two 1200 watt electric heaters. Divide 1200watts by 110 volts and also you get pretty close to eleven amp, multiply that by 2 (remember we’ve two heaters) and that means there exists a draw of about 22 amps, assuming the dock really is 110 volts. Sometimes they’re less which means even more current draw. So, with the load of 22 amps, that leaves us 8 amps in ideal conditions, i.e. no corrosion within the shore power connector or no loose fit in the connector. Now element in even the utilization of a microwave at about 1200 watts and you will see we’re beyond the limits from the shore power and we haven’t even considered lights or warm water (assuming an electrical warm water), or even cooking on a range or perhaps in an oven(also assuming electric).

As well as the issues above, many would still totally overlook their boat side shore power connector, which in fact had also become burned/scorched/ or melty. Also bad.

The remedies with this? There are several.

– Always employ new, UL approved marine shore cords with the PROPER shore power end.

– Do not use electric heaters on boats. Consider a diesel heater as well as other boat specific heater.

– Check your shore power cord ends quarterly. Make certain they can fit snugly and the connectors don’t show signs and symptoms of corrosion or heat discoloration. Also check for strange kinks or torn sheathing. If uncertain, replace it.

– Look at your dockside and boatside connections as well.

– Put some lubricant for example LPS 1 or Dielectric grease around the boots as well as in the connectors as both can help repel the salt air and assist in the battle against corrosion.

– Be mindful of your electrical demands. Remember, watts /volts= amps

– If any doubts appear in the mind, consult a professional ABYC(American Boat and Yacht Council) certified marine electrician.

Where do you turn if you do have a dockside or boatside connection issue, such as a melted connector? For any dockside outlet, speak to your marina management immediately. A good marina manager will understand why. If it’s a boatside connection, speak to a qualified certified ABYC marine electrician. If you’re acquainted with the ABYC code, you could do this it yourself, but when you have even the slightest doubt, opt for the pro. Should you tackle it yourself. Be sure to obtain the right fitting (both Hubbell and Marinco offer them) and be sure to check the wiring from the outlet to the distribution panel and also heat might have caused embrittlment of this insulation as well. Replacing this wire could well be cheap insurance.

Hope this can help some out there. And happy cruising!

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