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People leaving shore power cords dipped in the water?

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People leaving shore power cords dipped in the water?

Old 10-08-2019, 05:42 AM
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Originally Posted by cwhite6 View Post


Those cables are different. They are rated for direct bury conditions. Shore power cords are not. I have worked in utilities for the past 16 years as an EE doing overhead and underground cable installs. Anything that goes in the ground has to be rated for direct bury and sometimes submersible conditions. The cables insulated with XLPE are highly water resistant. But, you put them under enough electrical stress and they will have moisture intrusion.

For the shore power cables, they are not meant to be installed in a submersed environment. They shouldn’t leak much if only occasionally dipped in the water. However, insulation damage can be very, very small and not easily seen with the naked eye. Small amounts of damage can allow water in. I am not sure of the kind of insulation on the individual cables in one of these, but I doubt it is as water resistant as XLPE or the outside covering.
Here’s a vid of the process used for vinyl jacketing cables. Change the black to yellow and you have a shore cable. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is cheap and in no way comparable to the XLPE (polyethylene) mentioned above. That’s the good chit but even it has measurable leakage.

Old 10-08-2019, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by YeOldeStonecat View Post
I never let mine dunk in the water. The way I look at it, a brand new cable, occasionally being dunked for short periods, probably OK. But as they age, the sun, the weather, getting pulled and scraped along the dock, the longer it's under water...starts wearing on the jacket, I'm sure some leakage starts...however weak. Why take a chance? It's not too different from tying a line...if ya can't do that, find another hobby.


My common sense just tells me that an electrical cable does not belong in the water.
Old 10-08-2019, 06:44 AM
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Hmmm, ........... Some 'interesting' information here. Some correct (mostly) and some a bit off base, but given the critical nature I'll let it all stand. I would agree it is not a great idea to let the middle portion of a shore power cable droop in the water a bit, but if that does cause a problem something is really wrong. ----- And I will admit that the cable on my boat does tend to droop in the water a bit on and off.
.......... My job, .... for 25+ years, designing and manufacturing exactly what is being discussed, so I am well versed in UL, Direct burial, corona discharge, wet rated cable design, ..., ...., and all this stuff. I 'live' that video two posts up every day (except our stuff is all in English and not Chinese).

The MUCH bigger issue I see are the guys that unplug their shore power cables ONLY at the boat and leave it plugged coiled on the pier. If they slip and go over the side while handling the cable, or if the coil of cable goes over the side of the pier someone could die quickly. --- I see this all the time at my boat yard. I mentioned this to the guy behind me who does it all the time and only received a snide reply from him, something like "well, I guess that won't go well for me then".

Also, "stray current corrosion" which is caused by bad or incorrect wiring is NOT protected by anodes (zincs). Stray current corrosion is indiscriminate and will affect ALL metals, it just shows up faster on the anodes (zincs). So if your zincs are disappearing quickly from stray current corrosion all the other submerged metal is being attacked too.

Last edited by NedLloyd; 10-08-2019 at 09:06 AM.
Old 10-08-2019, 08:42 AM
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I walk by boats that have their cable drooping in the water. It is very annoying to me to see that. Sometimes I will pull them out. The next day they are back in again. I highly recommend those little yellow Marinco cable clips to keep the cable along the edge of the dock, out of the water and out of everyone’s way. No one seems to use them, though.
Old 10-08-2019, 09:12 AM
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Maybe it's just me... but I never understood why would you leave the shore power cord at the dock. It used to always come with us, even for just a short cruise. Too many things can happen while you're away with that cord, even if the breaker was/is turned off. To each there own.
Old 10-08-2019, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by 5tmorris View Post
Every underground power line in neighborhoods all over the US are at least periodically or permanently under water. As long as the water isn't the termination for the conductors there isn't a problem. Electricity goes from high potential to low potential(ground). Don't make yourself part of the path. If you do the unpleasant results will be the same whether in the water or on land.
this...

I've seen underground vaults in power plants in FL were cables are submerged in 3-4' of water for the last 30-50 yrs (plant built in the 70s). They actually had to have a crew running a sum pump non-stop while doing work. Some of the control cables now days in multiconductors have jackets that are 1/16-1/8" thick. The issue typically is on the end of the cables.


Old 10-08-2019, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Cabo31 View Post
Maybe it's just me... but I never understood why would you leave the shore power cord at the dock. It used to always come with us, even for just a short cruise. Too many things can happen while you're away with that cord, even if the breaker was/is turned off. To each there own.
For one thing it is a lot easier to leave rolled up on the pedestal. I have a 50' cord and only use about 1/2 of that, the rest stays rolled up. Why would I take it fishing? It would just be in the way. I think the OP is referring to while the boat is plugged in
Old 10-08-2019, 03:04 PM
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There are all kinds of power cables run though the ocean and underwater in lakes and rivers and they survive for decades and decades unless they get damaged in some way (like some nutcase dragging an anchor!). Those cables are much, much different than the lines from your boat to the dockside pedestal.
Old 10-08-2019, 03:56 PM
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Speaking of invisible cracks in extension cords...I've been using an old red cord while they're replacing the dock power (yes, from Harvey) to clean fish with my electric knife. I guaranty when you grab that cord with wet hands it'll tickle your scrotum.
Old 10-08-2019, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by NedLloyd View Post
Hmmm, ........... Some 'interesting' information here. Some correct (mostly) and some a bit off base, but given the critical nature I'll let it all stand. I would agree it is not a great idea to let the middle portion of a shore power cable droop in the water a bit, but if that does cause a problem something is really wrong. ----- And I will admit that the cable on my boat does tend to droop in the water a bit on and off.
.......... My job, .... for 25+ years, designing and manufacturing exactly what is being discussed, so I am well versed in UL, Direct burial, corona discharge, wet rated cable design, ..., ...., and all this stuff. I 'live' that video two posts up every day (except our stuff is all in English and not Chinese).

The MUCH bigger issue I see are the guys that unplug their shore power cables ONLY at the boat and leave it plugged coiled on the pier. If they slip and go over the side while handling the cable, or if the coil of cable goes over the side of the pier someone could die quickly. --- I see this all the time at my boat yard. I mentioned this to the guy behind me who does it all the time and only received a snide reply from him, something like "well, I guess that won't go well for me then".

Also, "stray current corrosion" which is caused by bad or incorrect wiring is NOT protected by anodes (zincs). Stray current corrosion is indiscriminate and will affect ALL metals, it just shows up faster on the anodes (zincs). So if your zincs are disappearing quickly from stray current corrosion all the other submerged metal is being attacked too.
Stray current corrosion will substantially accelerate crevice corrosion and amplify dissimilar metal corrosion which is why anodes disappear faster. Inboards with cutlass bearings in struts whose Nibral props are secured with stainless nuts get chomped up pretty bad. I’ve seen demonstrations where lightbulbs could be made to illuminate from the energy released due to simple galvanic corrosion as the electrons were liberated from an anode. Add some extra energy in the form of outsider current and metals we think of as indestructible can disappear.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:31 PM
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I have never seen an underground conduit that didn't hold water after a few years and that is just THWN conductors, no jacket. Mine are all on GFCIs
Old 10-09-2019, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by noelm View Post
I think you mean the middle of the cable is dipping into that water, not the end? if so, it kind of shouldn't hurt anything, because it is fully plastic covered, then each individual wire is insulated, the chances of this causing electrolysis is remote at best, and even less chance of being electrocuted while swimming, still, probably not such a big hit to leave it in the water.
This, if the new boat in the marina is causing your anodes to be eaten away there is stray current corrosion for sure, if your boat is also on shorepower you are now connected via the earth cable of the shorepower. Dirty trick to test for it, get a multimeter, put one end into the earth connection of the dock and the other in the water and see how many volts you are getting, please be careful doing this, make sure you get the earth cable in the receptacle, is the new boat steel hulled? What can you do to combat this, install zinc savers, or galvanic isolators to give them correct name, they go in the earth wire connection on your boat and block small amounts of electricity in the earth from being conducted, but in the event of a short to earth, they still allow the fault current to pass, even better is an isolation transformer, much more expensive, they transmit the electricity to the boat via magnetism across two coils, so there is no physical connection, Charles Industries were (or still are?) a very good brand for these. Unfortunately it does not take a lot of current in the water to cause drowning via electric shock. As for the original question, really becomes a problem if the outer insulation is eaten away, by which I would imagine a dockside breaker or GFCI would pop.
Old 10-09-2019, 07:39 AM
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They should not be in the water.
They should be secured to the dock.
They should be inspected regularly.
They should be replaced as needed,
or anytime they are damaged.
Old 10-09-2019, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by boatmanmark View Post
I am talking about the middle of the cable. I would hope if the end dropped in while live it would trip the circuit. But some of these cables are looking pretty old. And I never had my zincs get eaten away so quick before.
Middle of the cable? Who cares. End of the cable is obviously an issue.

If a boat near you has some wiring issues, and you are plugged into shorepower, sharing a ground means you guys are all connected. Having the middle of someone else's cord dipped in the water means that the cord sheath will get gross over time. Big deal. You're worrying about the wrong thing.

Get away from the boat with problem wiring (move elsewhere in the marina) or unplug your shorepower if you want it to stop.

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