Many AC electrical shorts, overheated connections, and, ultimately, fires can be traced to the cable plugs and the receptacle that's installed in the sailboat's cabin side or cockpit. Your boat's electrical system is a mini version of the one used for your home-but with a single important exception: It's temporary, whereas the utility-company wires that enter your home from the street are very permanent indeed. By contrast, the quick-disconnect marine plugs enable you to connect your vessel to shore power when you arrive and disconnect when you're ready to get under way. This convenience, however, is the system's Achilles' heel. If the contacts within the plug and receptacle become corroded-a veritable certainty at some point, given theenvironment-or if they aren't fully engaged-that is, if the plug isn't pushed fully home and twist-locked in place-then the connection may well be compromised.