VoltSafe Blog Team – September 25, 2023

3 Things Boat Owners Should Know About Current Leakage

For boat owners, there is nothing better than getting out onto the dock and spending much of the summer months on the water. But there are major issues that constantly lurk in the background: fire hazards and electrical current leakage into the water.

Currently many marinas are in the process of upgrading their docks to meet the demand for electrification as well as meeting safety regulations that have been set by the NFPA and ABYC.

When it comes to current leakage, the cause is attributed to the vessels that are docked at the marina. It has been estimated that 90 percent of marina GFPE issues can be attributed to vessels that are docked there. Marinas see boats of all sizes and makes that should be regularly tested for current leakage by using a device that measures for leakage of current. For marinas with more than three receptacles providing shore power it is a requirement to have a leakage current measurement device on site and utilize it to determine current leakage from each boat that will utilize shore power. As a boat owner, here are 3 things you can do to ensure that you and your family are protected. 

#1 Educate yourself about electrical shock deaths

Every boating season, a family loses a loved one to Electric Shock Drowning. Current leakage into the water leads to ESD. If someone were to jump into the electrified water surrounding the marina or boat, they would become instantly paralyzed by the current and drown. It is important to detect and identify the source of the current leakage as soon as possible. The source of leakage can be anything from inverters to appliances like refrigerators, washers and dryers, air conditioners. Corroded electrical connections can also lead to electrical current leakage.

#2 Have a qualified person service your onboard electrical systems

As marinas begin to renovate with equipment that has GFP (Ground Fault Protection), this type of equipment is in turn revealing wiring issues on boats. It’s not just older boats, but also newer ones as well that have faulty wiring on board. So making sure that you hire someone who has the proper certification to service your appliances and equipment on board will help reduce current leakage.

#3 Install an ELCI or Equipment Leakage Circuit Interrupter

This equipment is installed at the shore power entry point. The ELCI monitors the electricity flow in a circuit by detecting leakage in the same way that a GFCI outlet would. If the ELCI detects a loss or imbalance of current more than 30 milliamps, it cuts off the electricity supply to the boat. 

Aside from hiring a qualified professional to service the wiring of your on-board equipment, you should also investigate how VoltSafe Marine can assist you with addressing all these steps in one neat little package. Our shore power solution can detect current leakage, and can be managed by a smart dashboard and boater companion app, so everyone can do their part to efficiently control electricity, too.  Plus, since there are no recessed contacts, it minimizes both corrosion and arcing, ensuring unprecedented safety for marinas and boaters alike.  In addition to the importance of keeping you safe, VoltSafe Marine also helps marinas carry out fair utility billing based on power usage, helping save you money. Take a closer look at how VoltSafe Marine will help you protect you and your investment, enhancing safety for all.

About VoltSafe Inc.

VoltSafe Inc. is changing the way people connect to power. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, the Canadian tech startup has reinvented the electrical plug by eliminating prongs, adding magnets and an “electrical fingerprint”. Using patented technology, VoltSafe has created the world’s safest, simplest, and smartest plug design since electricity came into homes more than 140 years ago. The company’s product pipeline includes magnetic plug replacement solutions for household, commercial, industrial, marine, electric and autonomous vehicles, emergency services, data centres and more.