Written by Julie Jaworski

February Marina Newsletter

Winter Storms: This winter has provided some historically significant weather events in our area. The low-pressure systems forming in offshore waters have created numerous days of storm-force winds. Our marina staff have been working diligently to report damages to dock lines, fenders and the alike. Our customers are encouraged to regularly check that their bilges are functioning properly. Also, customers are asked to replace all damaged or chaffed lines immediately upon notification.

Electrical Fire: On December 20th, we had a fire onboard a vessel at our facility. Storm-force winds knocked down power supply along Dolphin Drive. This is assumed to be what had compromised the electronics onboard the vessel involved in the fire. The boat’s electronics were sending a continuous request to draw power from the marine batteries on-board. This draw persisted for some time before the plastic casing, which surrounded the battery, caught on fire. Though the situation was contained through the combined efforts of marina staff and the Nanoose Volunteer Fire Department, this event has encouraged us to send reminders about best practice for electrical at our facility. 

Electrical Considerations: Within our Marina Rules document, we suggest to store the excess electrical chord on your vessel, not wrapped around our docks. We encourage the use of SmartLock Chords to ensure that connection on-board your vessel is more secure than the one on shore. We discourage using pig-tail converters to draw 30 Amps from a 15 Amp receptacle as it negates the ground in place. Lastly, we suggest using low watt marine approved heaters. Here’s why:

  • Keeping excess chord on your vessel, rather than our docks, ensures that when leaving your slip  (purposefully or not) if your electrical chord is still attached it will release at the receptacle on shore. This means that will not see the additional danger or a charged electrical in the water.
  • SmartLock Chords also help to avoid charged electrical chords from falling in the water. They provide a superior connection which helps to protect against the potential of arching currents that result from loose connections. In fact, they are so effective that most insurance providers offer a 5% discount to those who show proof of purchase. Generally, the cost of the chord is saved after just one year of use. https://smartplug.com/marine/cordsets/
  • Negating the ground wire by pig-tailing from 30Amp to 15Amp creates a fire hazard. Ground wires are used to expel excess energy. If they are absent, the connection will get hot over time.
  • It is imperative that all customers who are running heaters within vessel ensure that they are accepted by their insurance policies. There are surprisingly few makes and models that are covered by marine policies. We recommend the Caframo – True North. https://www.caframolifestylesolutions.com/product/comfort-solutions/true-north/

Consider Introducing ELCI To Your Vessel:
ELCI (Equipment Leakage Circuit Interrupter) is a newly adopted device in the US & Canada, but they’ve been used in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand for over 25 years. When you’re plugged into shore power, the same amount of current should be flowing on the boat as off the boat. The ELCI measures this electrical flow. If the currents are not equal the ELCI shuts off the power to your vessel, making sure that the power leak does not cause additional problems or hazards. ELCI also provides over current protection, and some even include a polarity indicator.

Leave a Reply