East Coast Alerts
By Mel Neale
1. Forgetting to unplug the shore power cord can be so dangerous that it’s important to establish a reminder that works for you and your crew to be sure this job is properly done.
2. Always turn off the circuit breaker on the power pedestal before plugging or unplugging the power cord. Also turn the off the AC power selector switch which should be on or near your boat’s electric panel before doing either.
3. Unplug or plug in the end at the pedestal before you unplug or plug in the end at the boat.
4. If there’s any question as to how well the pedestal is maintained, don’t deal with it. Ask the marina staff. If the dock person seems inexperienced ask management. You don’t want any body to get hurt.
5. If it’s raining or the dock or pedestal is wet, wait until all is dry. Moisture enhances conductivity and this increases likelihood of electrocution.
6. When you plug in, have someone below checking the electric panel when the AC power selector switch is turned on. The person should be checking for anything unusual in voltage, amps, noise, smell and anything else when the power comes on. For example, if you have an inverter and it starts clicking on and off, this may be a sign of power problem as the inverter is trying to protect itself with its internal protective mechanisms.
7. Always monitor your power consumption and see that it’s well below rated amperage for each leg.
8. If either plug on your cord becomes blackened or smells burnt, replace it immediately. When you do so, cut back the wires if they or their insulation have been affected. It’s wise to carry a spare for each end.
9. Frequently inspect the receptacle on your boat, both from the outside and behind it (be careful—turn all power off first). Be sure there is no sign of overheating or other impairment and that wire connections are tight.
10. If the pedestal receptacle is blackened or smells burned ask the marina to replace it or move you to another slip. This could mean that the conductivity inside is impaired from past overheating. The heat generated when you use it could burn it out and/or damage your cord.
Go to www.tomneale.com for other tips and information
Copyright 2004-2005 Tom Neale