Are you the proud owner of a marina? Are you aware of all the safety features you must implement in order to make sure that there are no accidents on your property? Is there a proper ground fault interrupter installed within your docks? At Dockside Power, we are here to teach you all you need to know about GFCI breakers. Located near Naples, our professionals are here to clear up any confusion you may have.
The Incident and Article 555
A group of kids is having a blast at the bay with their grandparents. It is their first time ever at a marina and they are excited to finally see their grandfather’s new boat. While the grandparents unload the van, the kids put on their swimsuits and run down the dock. One hops off the edge and into the water, which is very cold. The second follows and dives after. Suddenly the kids are screaming, and begin to thrash in the water. The second cries simultaneously. They can feel the electric current flow through them, and this makes all their muscles contract. They are not able to swim or move. They go under and drown.
While this particular scenario is fictitious, electric shock drowning happens far too often. The hazards of electric shock drowning were explored in an IAEI News article by Jim Shafer. At that time, at least 42 drowning deaths in the southern United States had been attributed to electric shock. Monitoring of ground-fault currents in the water of marinas was recommended to mitigate the problem.
Familiar with Article 555? It states that “fixed or floating piers, wharves, docks, and other areas in marinas, boatyards, boat basins, boathouses, yacht clubs, boat condominiums, docking facilities associated with residential homes, and any multiple docking facility, or similar occupancies, and facilities that are used, or intended for use, for the purpose of repair, berthing, launching, storage, or fueling of small craft and the moorage of floating buildings.” This means that anytime that water power is taken from the shore out onto any structure in the water associated with boats or floating buildings, with the exception of private residential boat docks, it would have to comply with these requirements. GFCI protection, using a standard Class A GFCI breaker or device, is permitted as one option.
The Main Benefits of a Ground Fault Interrupter (GFCI Device)
- Shock Prevention
- The most obvious advantage of a GFCI outlet is that it prevents shocks and electrocution. A GFCI outlet has a built-in sensor that monitors the inflow and outflow of electricity from an appliance.
- Fire Prevention
- The primary function of a GFCI outlet is to detect ground faults. Since ground faults, which occur when the flow of the electrical current leaves a circuit, can cause electrical fires, it is safe to say that one of the advantages of installing a GFCI outlet is the prevention of fires.
- Prevention of Damage of Appliances
- Sometimes, as insulation breaks down over a period of time, a certain amount of electric current begins to leak into household appliances or other electronic items. If the outer body of the equipment is not made of metal, you may not get a shock, but this constant leakage of current will damage the equipment. With a GFCI breaker, this will never be a problem.
A ground fault interrupter is one way to go to ensure that individuals on your vessel or marina, and those in the water, are safe and secure. Here at Dockside Power, we have exactly what you need. Call or contact our experts near Naples today for more information.