Shore Power Cords, Connectors and Cables
Many a boater and insurance company will agree that the worst thing in boating is shore power and the associated hardware. Consider the scenario of arriving back at the dock after a great day on the water. One jumps onto the dock and gingerly ties up the boat and then realizes he much get the power cord out, such a downer. If it is a strange dock that is where the fun begins because often the outlets do not match the ends of one’s cord and the situation requires an adaptor that is not part of the boats shore power arsenal, or better yet, all is finally plugged in only to find out the shore power outlet in the pedestal does not work.
Shore power cords are generally stiff and heavy. A 30A shore power cord which is at the lower end of the marine power cord selection, weighs about 14 lbs. with plugs for a 25foot length. If it where a 50A cord or better yet the 100A, then there is considerably more weight. To give the shore power cords some credit, they are abused. They are left out on the docks at the mercy of dock carts and whatever? They are also left out in the elements for days on end and often become part of the mooring system preventing the boat from floating away.
Go to any marina and one will no doubt find marine shore power cords drooped into the water, something of a no no for shore power cords. Yet with all the abuse these ship to shore power cords function fairly well. The longevity, the reliability and the endurance of boat power cords are easily overlooked because of all the inconveniences associated with shore power cables such as the magnitude of adapters required, the sudden overheating or meltdown of fittings and are the culprit of many a marina fire.
For many years this was the norm until fairly recent, when the so-called smart plugs were introduced which is changing the way we think about shore power. Quality marine cables and the fittings are constructed of tinned copper, the best combination for electrical cable and fittings for the marine environment.
Marine cable insulation is typically chemical resistant and in the case of a shore power cord UV resistant as well. In a shore power cord, the UV inhibitors do not last a lifetime and the cord will degrade over time requiring a replacement. This maintenance is often overlooked or deferred until the inevitable happens such as a breakdown or a fire.
Onboard AC power is also subject to aging and with constant changing loads it will experience unanticipated failures. Many electrical components such as a capacitor have a limited working life and will fail rendering the whole electrical component inoperative no matter how well they are cared for.
Sometimes a failed unit can have a knock-on effect such as a bad battery charger ruining the whole battery bank. Therefore, electrical maintenance is important. A not so obvious electrical culprit is the ship to shore connection or the power pedestal. The dock lights and other boats are all connected to the same grid. If any component on the grid malfunctions it can affect the rest of the consumers.
Therefore, it is always prudent to evaluate the source of power prior to connecting one’s boat because it might just save a headache in the long run and remember, no matter what size power cord requires replacing, rest assured Go2Marine has the items you need, in stock, ready to ship at prices that will not break the budget.