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How To Prevent Common Marine Electrical Issues

yacht-electrical-services

While every yacht or commercial marine vessel will have it’s own individual set of electronics, components and automation systems, there are a number of common issues or bad practices that all boat owners should avoid to prevent unnecessary problems aboard your boat.

Avoid Continuously Running Fuses at Full Ratings

Primarily, fuses are in place to protect the integrity of your wires, not necessarily your equipment.  A short circuit could potentially expose a wire to current that is hundreds of times more powerful than it is capable of handling, which would definitely melt insulation and more than likely start a fire onboard.  While many fuses are capable of running at more than 100% of their rated current value, this is really only for short periods of time and not indefinitely.  If your fuses are running at 100% of their rated value for an extended period of time, the first thing they will do is begin to produce an excess amount of heat.  As the fuse begins to produce more heat, this will then cause insulation and fuse blocks to melt. At this point, the typical best case scenario would be failure of one more more of your fuses and pieces of equipment, and the worst case scenario would be the start of an onboard fire. It is advised that you choose current protection that does not exceed 80 percent of the rating. 

Not Using The Shore Power Cord Locking Ring

Another common mistake that yacht owners make actually occurs once the boat is safely back at the dock – not properly securing the connection between your shore power and hull.  When making the connection between the shore power device and your hull, it is always a crucial step to make sure that the locking ring is fully engaged and secure.  If not, there is the potential for the plug to wiggle back and forth due to wind, waves, or even small birds landing on the cord, which could lead to a compromised electrical connection and ultimately overheating. As this overheating progresses, it could cause failures in various pieces of equipment, wiring, or even cause a fire to start.  Believe it or not, this is actually one of the most commonly overheated point of wiring on the boat as it will typically feed your AC unit and other large scale electric items, so it is essential that this be given the utmost attention.

Ensuring All Grounding Methods Are Appropriate

One of the most misunderstood aspects of a boats electrical system, and often times the most troublesome,  is the proper method of grounding. There are four different ground systems that can be used: DC ground, AC ground, AC grounding (or bond), and the vessel’s bonding system. Depending on the equipment, it’s voltage, and a number of other factors, the appropriate method of grounding will change.  The important thing to understand that unless you are not only very familiar with the various methods of grounding, but also the equipment being grounded, it is probably best to leave this work in the hands of experienced marine electricians. 

If you are in need of assistance with securing your onboard electrical systems to prevent any unnecessary marine electrical issues, or would like for an experienced marine electrical services provider to run a full audit of your yacht, please contact Tess  Electrical today.

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