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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 12-24-2007
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Shore power for skiffs

Hot topic in town (no pun intended) recently has been shore power and small boats. City had been handing out citations and small boat owners are freaking out! Just about everyone here leaves their boats in all winters, and just about everyone uses cabin heaters. The small boats that don't have shore power systems have been using 15amp adapters to plug into the city 30amp power pods. All they are doing is running a heater or lamp independent of the boat (skiff as they say here).
Basically, the city is saying you must have a bone fide shore power system on your boat if you are going to plug in. Obviously not practical on a 14' whaler!!! and yes.. 14' whalers here have cabins!!! Anyone have experience with this sort of issue? Any products available to accept 30amp superpower to power one or two devices? Is it safe at all to use a floating (not commonly grounded) AC on a small boat?
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Old 12-25-2007
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Umm... all a bona fide shore power system requires is a shore power input connector, a shore power cord, an AC breaker panel and an AC outlet... Why would this be impractical on a 14' boat??? If the boat's got a cabin, it's about a day's work to do the entire installation.

The two main reasons they frown on people using the pig-tail adapters are:
  • First, most aren't capable of being "locked" together and most aren't waterproof, so the electrocution risks go up incredibly.
  • Second, using a 15 amp extension cord with a pigtail means that the breaker won't trip before the extension cord starts to burn... since the extension cord is rated for half the breaker amperage, so the risk of boat fires also goes way up.

Personally, I don't blame the city for cracking down... you'd have to be a pretty stupid government not too... since the fire department and EMS budgets come out of their pocket and reducing the number of boat fires and electrocutions can't be anything but a good thing.

IMHO, you'd have to be a pretty ignorant or stupid boat owner to keep using a 15 Amp power cord on a 30 Amp shore power pod for any extended period of time.
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Old 12-25-2007
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Agree having an installed shore power system is great.. I have one, but itIS a big deal for a lot of folks around town. A lot of the boats in question are used by subsistence fisherman, or other less than financially secure townfolk. If you have money.. you get a bigger boat! there is 1 boat for every 3-4 people here, it is a way of life. West Marine is the best deal in town (NO JOKE). Here is a basic system,with marinco & blues sea products and GFCI protection. That IS a big deal:


Another problem, is once you ground your system you have just connected your boat to all the other boats (probably with incorrect installations) and now you have to worry about bonding, galvanic corrosion etc even more. I am ALL for a safe marina and boating community. Just trying to figure out what the options are.
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Old 12-25-2007
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Hmm... you're going with West Marine Pricing by the looks of it. First of all, I am willing to bet you could save at least 15-20% by going with a different vendor. For instance, I found the 30 Amp 25' shore power cord for $53.49 at another vendor... not $69.99.

Most marinas require the boat owners to have insurance, and I'm willing to bet that their insurance companies would frown upon them using 15 amp extension cords on their boats that were plugged into 30 amp power boxes.

Finally, this isn't an on-going cost...but a one-time investment in the boat.
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Old 12-25-2007
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Spoken like a true lower 48'er! Find me a $53.49 shorepower cord, then spend $70 for Fedex... Ahh.. I miss those things called consumer selection, competition, variety, choice... the good old days
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