There were two main issues identified:
One item in particular was highlighted by the inspector as something we need to address immediately: Power connection to boats.
As well as inappropriate leads, many boats had their leads wrapped around the pedestals.
At the end of this article you will find a very informative article on Shore Power from ‘Afloat’ magazine. I recommend all boat owners read this.
As well as the risk of fire, poor leads are an obvious electrocution risk (both on land and particularly for any swimmers/divers in the water). Poor leads (and how they are run) may also contribute to electrolysis issues – and not just for your boat.
Beginning immediately, RMYS will be identifying and recording boats that have inappropriate power leads, and we will be expecting boat owners to take immediate action to remedy the situation. We will NOT (yet) unplug leads, but we will tag the lead and request the owner take immediate action.
(Hopefully not) coming to a power lead near you…
· Do you need to be plugged in? If you are not immediately using power, please do not plug in. If you are plugged in, you are electrically connected via the Earth wire to every other plugged in (even if the power is “Off”), and potentially vulnerable to corrosion if any of the other boats have leakage issues.
· Use approved, tinned, marine certified leads and plugs. IP66 rated with a cross sectional area of at least 2.5mm2. Leads should have a current “Test & Tag” sticker (see more in “Afloat” article below).
· Do not put any knots or tight loops in the lead.
· Do not wrap leads around the pedestals.
· Do not allow the lead to touch the water. Leads should run from the pedestal to the nearest part of the boat. Never run leads along the Marina fingers
Your compliance with this request will greatly assist in reducing fire risk, improve safety, potentially reduce electrolysis issues, and improve the appearance of your Marina.
The other issue identified was the prevalence of hoses left around pedestals. These can be a trip hazard and can be unsightly. Hoses must not be left on the Marina Arm or Fingers. Hoses should be kept on board your boat. It is acceptable to offload your hose if you are out for a sail or race, but it must be returned to your boat upon return. We will commence moving hoses onto boats as part of our regular Marina inspections, but would appreciate your assistance in storing your hose aboard your vessel.
Below is the Shore Power article from “Afloat” Magazine.
The connection of 240V AC power from the shore to the boat is made by a shore power lead or cord. Needless to say, connecting potentially lethal AC power from land to a boat in the water, with the cord often running across jetties or pontoons with heavy foot and vehicle traffic, all adds up to a situation that can be very dangerous.
It is therefore imperative that the proper equipment be carefully selected and that this should be maintained in good working order at all times. Care must also be taken when using the connection to route the cord in a way that will prevent it being damaged.
Most Australian marinas provide shore power from an outlet rated 240VAC 15A. They should have power outlets with the three pin, Y-configuration as per Australian standards. The 15A connections have a wider earth pin than the 10A connections very commonly found in most Australian households. This ensures that a load that will potentially draw up to 15A can only be connected to an outlet that is suited to supply that current.
Most marinas have IP66 rated (waterproof) outlets. These have a male thread moulded into the housing around the outlet. The IP66 rated, 240V15A plugs that fit into them have a matching collar that screws onto the outlet once it’s plugged in, thus ensuring a waterproof connection and preventing the plug from being disconnected unintentionally if the cord is pulled on for whatever reason.
The cable used for the shore power cord should have a cross sectional area of at least 2.5mm². As this cable will be used in a marine environment, it should be tinned to prevent corrosion. It must have heavy duty insulation that can withstand marina traffic, boats chaffing against it as well as fuels, oils and chemicals. We so often find customers asking why they cannot just use the builders’ extension leads that are available from hardware shops? Those have light duty insulation, are untinned and often only have a cross sectional area of 1.5mm². Buying cheap is definitely false economy!
Now, to get the power into the boat. The boat is regarded as an appliance. The appliance is fitted with a plug, the supply lead with a socket. This ensures that if the unplugged lead is live, there are no exposed terminals that could pose a danger. While the boat could be fitted with a hardwired lead with an inline plug at the end of it like any other appliance, it is more common to use an appliance inlet that is fixed to the boat onto which the outlet on the shore power cord is fitted.
The Australian IP66 rated components from the same range as used at the shore side can be used here too. The threaded connection that locks the components together is even more important here than on the shoreside, as a socket that is pulled out of the inlet at this end could end up in the water, with possibly lethal consequences for anyone nearby in contact with the water.
However, the Australian appliance inlets available on the market, although functionally good and of high quality, are designed as industrial components. Their appearance on a boat is thus – well, a bit industrial! For this reason many boats are fitted with shore power inlets from the USA. These have curved pins, which allow the connections to be twisted once plugged in, thus securing the connection.
These components are manufactured by companies such as Marinco, Hubbel and Charles Industries. Beware when purchasing these. While they all may look similar at a glance, there are a great number of variations available.
In Australia the most commonly used connections are the 220V15A versions. The earth connector on these has a bend that faces the centre of the connector. Also used are 220V32A connectors, which have a slightly larger diameter, and the earth pin is bent outwards. They all should have their rating marked on each component. Boats originating in the USA could have very similar looking connectors marked 125V30A, 125V50A or 125V/250V/50A. These cannot be mixed and matched, they are deliberately designed not to fit each other!
NB – all AC power leads and wiring fitted to the boat may only be connected up by a licensed electrician.