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TRAVEL BOATING One Cable Or Two - It's Up to You! It's Electrifying

One Cable Or Two - It's Up to You! It's Electrifying

By: Steven C. Russell | Sep 8 2010 | 673 words | 2392 hits

You have a boat that has two 30 amp shore power cables going to it. That is such a pain. They never look cool. They get tangled up and they become a tripping, thus safety, issue. When you look at your panel, you see why you need two. Half usually runs the House and maybe an air conditioner. The other is usually the main power source for the remaining A/C units, if not all the A/C units and pump. It may also run a water heater,. But why does it have to look like there are a bunch of extension cords laid out across the back of your boat and across the dock? I'm talking about a boat that does not have a Cable Master or other mechanical retrieval system. I'm talking about the old fashioned, hand to hand way of operating your power cords. I see people try to hide them, organize them, use tie wraps, bungee cords, Velcro and many other disguises and organizers.

How it looks on your dock can depend on your setup.

When you are at your home dock, you usually have the ability to set it up the way you want. You probably have a pedestal with two 30 amp connections or that pedestal will have a single 50 connection and you have a splitter breaking down that 50 amp male into two 30 amp females. Either way, you have two cables running down the dock, across to your boat and connected. In some cases, you don't have a choice because the boat connections are either outside or far apart. But, let say you have a boat that the two 30amp boat connections are inside a cabinet as is with most Sea Rays. With them, you have an access port that the cables run through and connect to the inlets that are right next to each other.

Lets just talk about placement. I always recommend that you have a second set of cables for travel. That way, your dock is always set up for you to come and go with little effort. You keep them put away until you need them. The cables you use at your dock should have the excess on the dock, not on the boat. That way when you leave the boat you have a quick disconnect and connect and not having to drag excess lines off of the boat.

But right there is the rub. Most of us are used to the concept of putting the splitter on the dock at the Pedestal running the two 30amp lines down the dock. No matter how hard you try, it looks sloppy and also becomes a hazard and maintenance problem. With the splitter there, you have to connect the cables to the end and they usually end up laying on the ground. I know that they have the connectors to lock them together but believe me, it really does not make it water tight. So now you could have open connections laying on a wet dock, grass, pool of water and you, your family, friends, dogs or cats are possibly going to walk into an electrically energized wet environment.

How about this. Change the splitter from the dock to the boat and run a single 50amp cable from the pedestal to the boat. Looks cleaner. You are plugged directly into the socket that is at a safe height. Less Tripability so it is safer and now you only have one line to wind up. In addition, when you travel, most docks will not have two 30 amp connections so you have to drag the splitter up on the dock and put it all together. A single 50 amp at a rental dock is usually cheaper then two 30 amps anyway. This way, you pull one cable out of the boat to the dock and connect it. It is cleaner, safer and quicker.

So consider this when you are looking at your electrical requirements and how you connect to the shore power. I think you will find it the way to go.

About author:
Capt. Steve Russell, USCG Licensed Captain, Masters 100ton. Towing, Sail/Aux Capt. Steve's "How to Boating" President, YachtXperts, inc, Yacht Mgmt and Captaining in South Florida. Yachts 45' to 80' Boat and Yacht Delivery, Yacht Broker
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