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NMEA Boater Blog

When power at the dock lets you down

Several months ago we heard about boat owners complaining of electrical problems at some marinas on the west coast of Florida. Leakage of electrical current at shoreside facilities is nothing new—and it can be deadly in some instances. Updated rules governing electrical installations at marinas were put in place years ago but apparently they didn’t solve the problem. We asked electrical expert Ed Sherman to explain what was going on. The following report is excerpted from an article he wrote for Marine Electronics Journal.

By Ed Sherman

So, your customer is ecstatic over their new boat and the $40,000 worth of electronic equipment you just installed. That is, all except for one minor detail that seems unexplainable: every time the boat plugs into shore power the main ground fault protection device at their newly rewired marina trips, shutting off the power to their boat and all their neighbors on the dock. What could possibly be wrong? After all they just spent $600,000 on their new dream cruiser. Further complicating the issue is that your customer says that when they took their first cruise down the bay and plugged in at a transient dock at a quaint and much older marina down the bay, there were no problems with the shore power. What’s up here?

To answer this question requires a look back at some interesting history relative to both dock wiring as well as boat wiring. Let me begin by identifying the root cause of the dilemma that has emerged. In-water electric shock death, more commonly known today in the marina world as ESD, is what got this ball rolling. Believe me, this ball has been winding down a long and winding road over the last decade, in part due to a general lack of understanding of the problem and its causes as well as changes in the choice of equipment used on new boats.

Garmin® and Fusion® expand Apollo Series with new products designed to enhance onboard entertainment

OLATHE, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Garmin International, Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN), the world’s leading marine electronics manufacturer1, today announced it has expanded its Fusion-branded Apollo™ Series with the introduction of the Apollo WB670 premium hideaway system and the Apollo ERX400 wired remote.
With COVID-19 stalking the planet, settling down in a remote Maine anchorage sounds even more attractive than usual. But I’ll also want a connection to family, news, etc. even more than usual, and reliable cell service remains a longterm issue in many of the sweetest spots along this coast (and elsewhere), despite what the service provider coverage maps show.

Digital Boat Switching Systems

Capt. Arik Bergerman faced 6- to 8-foot seas at the wheel of his Yellowfin Carbon 39 as it rocketed across the wave tops from Key West, Florida, toward a wreck near the Dry Tortugas, 88 miles away, in a no-holds-barred effort to win the Stock Island Village Marina King Mackerel Tournament in January 2016. But suddenly, the run came to a halt as Bergerman pulled back the throttles in response to an alert on one of the multifunction displays.