Undersized Shore Power Cable is Too Common

If a boat is brought to the US from Europe or South Africa, it's possible the wiring will need an upgrade to handle American electronics.

The photo above which I took this past fall while working as one of Cruising World's BOTY (Boat of the year) judges is getting to be an all too common scene on boats coming into the US from Europe and South Africa.

What you are looking at is a pair of now 30 amp 120 volt shore power cables. Trouble is, these were originally intended by the boat builder to be used in a 230 volt 16 amp application.

The cables above look to be smaller than the cables you are used to seeing on boats here in the US right? Right, that’s because they are too small by a factor of approximately 50%.

The bottom line here is that once these boats get loaded up with US equipment like reverse cycle air-conditioning, 2000 watt hair dryers and cappuccino machines and a 10,000 watt stereo system, the cord is going to be working really hard to carry the needed electrical current.

What's next? Overheating of the cord and possibly even a fire caused by this overheating.

What’s even scarier is that if they do this with the shore power cord, whats going on with the cabling installed on the boat that feeds power to the various plug outlets on board?

It's probably half the size it should be as well. A good question to ask your sales person before plunking down your hard earned $200 K or more for your dream boat.

Undersized Shore Power Cords

Undersized Shore Power Cords

Undersized Shore Power CordsEd Sherman