Are you worried because despite your best efforts, your marine power pedestal won’t connect to shore power? What is happening? Here at Dockside Power Inc., our team is here to make sure you get all the information that will help you get to the bottom of this issue. We specialize in dock power pedestals. We are conveniently located in Hollywood. 


It’s Not A Shore Thing

Shore power should be easy. If you frequent marinas often enough, you probably take reliable shore power for granted. However, some boaters are running into trouble connecting to shore power these days, especially in marinas rebuilt following last year’s tropical storms. Marinas rebuilding piers and infrastructure are being updated to the latest code standards relating to shore power connections. As a result, many boats are tripping newly installed, more sensitive shore power breakers.


Boaters benefit a great deal from the efforts of organizations like the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) and code agencies like the National Electric Code (NEC). Through their education and standards, boats and marinas are designed and built to keep users safe. However, there are times when codes and standards get ahead of manufacturing, and boaters are left with problems from incompatible systems.

When You Connect Dock Power Pedestals


Most everyone is familiar with a ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI outlet. For many years we’ve used them in our home’s kitchens, and baths, or anywhere something plugged into an electrical outlet could come in contact with water. They are mandated for residential wiring by building code for personal safety against electrocution. Electricity flows from an outlet to an appliance and back again in a loop along the hot and neutral wires in the power cord. The GFCI monitors the electricity flowing through the loop. If the device plugged in were to fall into a bathtub or get wet, thereby allowing electricity to flow into the water, the GFCI would detect the loss or imbalance of current in the loop and trip a highly sensitive breaker in the outlet. 


When you connect your boat to shore power, it is similar to connecting an appliance to an outlet: There is a flow of electricity traveling in a loop between your boat and the shore power pedestal along the hot and neutral wires in your shore power cord. There is also a third wire in your shore power cord—that is a ground wire. If anywhere in the boat’s wiring or in an appliance on the boat the neutral and ground are connected, current will be diverted from the loop, creating a “leak” of electricity from the circuit and into the boat’s bonding or ground system. Due to a lack of standards in the past, this condition could occur in a large percentage of recreational boats. Electricity flowing through a boat’s bonding system by way of the ground wire results in a potential for electrical current to flow into the water around the boat. One of the primary reasons marinas post signs prohibiting swimming in the marina is due to the potential for electricity in the water, and the risk of drowning by electric shock.


Here’s What To Do

First, turn off the primary breaker in the shore power connection. Then, turn off all branch circuit breakers within the boat. Once the shore power cord is connected and locked into place, turn on the shore power connection at the dock pedestal, with the boat’s main AC breaker still off. If the breaker trips immediately, you know the problem is likely the shore cord or Y adaptor. Next, turn on the boat’s main AC breaker with all of the branch circuits still off. If the shore power pedestal breaker trips, the problem is likely an improperly wired transfer switch or inverter. If the dock pedestal breaker trips after an individual branch circuit breaker are switched on, it is likely the problem is a device connected to the breaker or defective control board in an HVAC or refrigerator circuit. This procedure works in diagnosing at least where the problem lies, and it’s effective on most boats, assuming they have two pole main breakers for 30-amp/125-volt inlets and three pole main breakers for 50-amp/250-volt inlets.


Call Us For The Best Marine Power Pedestal

We know everything you need to know when it comes to a marine power pedestal. The last thing you want is to be the next victim to the shore power connection. Dockside Power, Inc. was established to provide the ultimate solution to the marine power requirements of marinas and homes. With over 40 years of experience in marine power, we custom design dock power pedestals unique to your needs, such as our shore power pedestal. All products are manufactured at our location in Hollywood. Contact us today to get all the necessary information you need in regards to a GFCI breaker. We are here to help and are in Hollywood!


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