An Ounce of Prevention

Posted: February 1, 2014  |  Tag: Miscellaneous

By: John Temple

We always plug in our boat to dock power where we keep our boat. We have had to replace several power cords and a couple of connectors on the boat. What can we do? The cords and replacing the power inlet connectors are expensive.
Any costs associated with connectors and replacing power cords should not be foremost in your mind. Foremost is the risk of fire damage to your boat and surrounding boats at the marina.

So what can you do? First, make sure your power cord does not “tug” on the connection to your boat. One of the most common reasons this happens is because wind and waves tip the power cord into the water. Then, the cord gets lodged between a fender and the side of the boat, tugging it. Secure your power cord in a way that precludes this from happening. One tip may be to use Velcro straps around a dockline holding the cord instead of the power cord just going straight from the outlet to the dock box connection.

Second, whenever you visit your boat, pull the power cord off your connector on the boat. Inspect the tongs and the inserts, looking for any burning/yellowing that could be a sign of the power cord losing connection. What can then happen is that because of the melted connection the electrical connection is not tight. The next thing that can happen is arcing of power and heat and further melting and fire. The good result, if you can call it that, is the connection gets so weakened that no power flows.

Another test is to turn on as much power draw as possible. Then after several minutes, feel the power cord’s end. Make sure it is not getting hot. Whatever you do, do not procrastinate on this.

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