Extension cords @ dock - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electrical Systems
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Old 02-11-2013
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Extension cords @ dock

What are the normal "rules" / etiquette for using extension cords when at dock?
I do not have any connections on the boat for the heavy duty shore power cord. I have one battery that was used to run interior light (1) and running lights. The previous owner left some AC fans onboard so I presume he plugged an regular extension cord into a shore power pig tail adapter.

Is this an ok thing to do? We don't have anything planned other than A/C fans for sleeping.

Thanks
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Old 02-11-2013
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Re: Extension cords @ dock

There is no ettiqutte for extension cord use. People do it all the time in every single marina I've ever been in.
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Old 02-11-2013
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Re: Extension cords @ dock

Many marinas may offer 15A service on a standard 3 prong plug, others will require an adaptor. If the boat's not set up for 'shore power' the only concern I'd have about the 'extension cord' is that it's properly rated for marine use. The marina may not allow a generic home depot cord if they are paying attention. I think the cords need an UW approval (underwater) rating.

It may be nice to be able to plug in a battery charger too.....The other issue you may run into is having to pay for 30A service even though you'll not need that much.

Finally, if you've got a decent charging system you might want to change to 12Vdc fans and get away from AC altogether....
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Old 02-12-2013
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Re: Extension cords @ dock

Thanks.
I have no charger right now. Am looking at a 5V solar panel to keep the battery topped up.

We will only be "camping on water" if there is A/C available to run the fans. She will not rely on DC. (wife's rule and wives rule)

Our local Canadian Tire has a contractor's 50' cord on sale and it is pretty damn close to the same guage as regular shore power cord. e.g I would NOT struggle with it to run my electric lawn mower.

As an aside, I was recently at a 12V seminar being run at one of the Toronto rigging shops. They have a bunch of Saturday seminars to generate store traffic in Feb. I did the West Systems one last Sat. At the first one I noticed some shore power cords regularly $90 on sale for $62. Took one to the cash and the kid said "sorry that was the boat show price...no longer valid". Now here in Canada the rule is that if a product is mis-priced the customer gets the lower price regardless of what the computer says.

Except apparently when the rigging shop says no. They re-priced the other two incorrectly price cords and I walked out with nothing and a firm resolve to never buy anything there. Now I may have to bend a bit on that but I was so pissed that they did not care about customer service that it will be a long time before I bend. West Marine here I come.
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Old 02-18-2013
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Re: Extension cords @ dock

Something to consider. The marina's around here have 30 amp power poles. You can get a pigtail from reputable outfits that have a 30 Amp twist in connector for the power pole on one end and a regular female plug that accepts a 15 amp cord on the other. The problem with this is that if you plug in a cord and appliances that are rated at less than 15 amp they'll get no protection from the circuit breaker on the dock's power pole, which won't trip until 30+amps.
I have lower than 30 amp on board AC circuits, but the cord to the power pole is rated for 30 amps up to the boat and I have lower amp AC circuit breakers on board after that.
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Old 02-18-2013
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Re: Extension cords @ dock

It depends where you are. Victoria's Harbour Authority do not allow any cords on the dock except approved 30 amp or larger.
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Old 02-18-2013
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Re: Extension cords @ dock

We dont allow anything other than 30 amp cords or marine ones in our club as in the past they have been found to be the cause of some of the stray current issues we have found.
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Old 02-22-2013
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Re: Extension cords @ dock

Back when we had our Macgregor I rigged up a 17" x 17" solar panel (Forgot the wattage) I purchased off ebay, wired it to a solar panel regulator and ran it to a set of bus bars (+ and -). The + bus bar then was connected to a Perko switch (OFF, 1, 2, BOTH). #1 battery was a series 27 deep cycle and #2 battery was a larger lawn equipment battery for back up. Our electical system was mainly for lights and the stereo, and a few 12VDC cigarette lighter type plugs for 12 volt accessories. The engine was a pull start 8HP Nissan that I installed an under the flywheel alternator on and ran to the bus bars. (I was VERY PROUD of this system which from stock was only a single toggle switch and a lawnmower battery). Although we carried an extension chord I only used it to run the vacuum cleaner and maybe once or twice to top off one of the batteries that was at the end of it's life cycle. This system worked fine for us but we didn't have refridgeration or any other large current needs. If your needs are minimal I'd try to convince the wife to try relying on DC as an experiment and if succussful ditch the AC altogether. I even had a reversable 12VDC computor muffin fan ($15 online computor store) mounted to a clam shell vent in the engine well that could run continuously to circulate the cabin air. A sweet system indeed!
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Old 02-23-2013
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Re: Extension cords @ dock

I bought the contractors cord but now a colleague has offered me one of his old ones. His new boat came with extras and he is now overrun with yellow cords. I am returning the contractors cord and putting the money into a gift bottle of rum or scotch once I find his preference.

Now I need to decide if I go with just the adapter or add the AC panel and plug.
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