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Old 08-16-2013, 03:46 PM   #1
Lt. Commander

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Southwestern Ontario
Posts: 125
Default Electrocution Hazard

In cases of poor or degrading shore power attachment cables there have been electrocutions. In Ontario the Electrical Safety Authority is linking to BoatUS for their safety information and awareness - I have attached their pdf below (hope it works).

But to quickly summarize the info - if there are problems with the shore power cable the grounding in the boat can effectively energize the water around it back to the grounding at shore. If someone goes into the water in this area they could be shocked or electrocuted. DO NOT go in to get them. Use a rescue device to get them into shore. If not breathing start CPR, get help.

Check and ensure proper maintenance of your shore power cables.

Stay safe!!

Docks with Bad Wiring Continue to Prove Deadly.pdf

1997 1700SR "MaKs RAT attack"
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Old 08-16-2013, 04:38 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: central Illinois
Posts: 2,172

As a member over on the I have asked some of their electrical minds about this. This is called ESD, Electrical Shock Drowning. The story at BoatUS was about some kids that were killed because of stray AC currents in their marina. A sad story.

Too add to all this I know a couple of boating friends that have had corrision problems on their boat at our marina so I thought I would check this all out. By NO means am I an expert on all this but I did learn alot!

So I went out and bought a clamp meter. Now I could of spent up to 3 or 4 hundred dollars on a very good one but went the more budget minded with a 20 dollar clamp meter from Harbor Freight. Went up and down our dock with the clamp meter checking. What it does is.... check for any escaping AC voltage. This is only the first step for this problem. I sent my clamped gauge over the shorepower cord where it plugs into the pedestal to see if I got any leakage. All around my boat's slip I got zero's which is good cause that means your ground, black or white in your shorepower cord is not leaking. About 7 or 8 boat slips out away from my slip I started to get readings of .01, .1 and all the way up to 1.1 on my meter. But nothing higher than the 1.1.What do you do with this information? 1.1 is low on the scale in the Boatus article.

Added info........Now what I have learned from the guys over at the bayliner site is that the AC current leakage will shock you but the DC current leakage(your 12v or 6v batteries) will cause corrision problems on your metals on your boat. So if your outdrives are getting pitted, check your anodes first but you have a DC leak somewhere.

Now back to the AC problem.I just got the first part of all this done. Now if you find a AC leakage what line is it coming from? Your ground, black(Hot and it would be yellow if you have a newer boat) or white. You have to seperate these wires to find out which line is leaking, which I did not do. I just told the owners of the boat about their reading and left it at that.

That is all I did. I have been told that there is a device to seperate the wires so you can figure what is leaking. Also I was told that you should have all your ac devices turned on when testing. There is alot to this.

So that is my story where I got my feet wet on this problem of ESD.


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Old 08-16-2013, 08:20 PM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Essex, Maryland
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FYI it isn't the voltage that harms one it's the current that affects your heart rythm.

Measuring leak voltage is how one detects the wiring is improper (missing ground, hot/netural reversed) or insulating jacket has broken down.

This is why marinas don't or shouldn't allow swimming around the docks. Several other reasons as well.
1997 2400 SCR
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