Capt. David Rifkin (USN, Ret.)
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Most all forms of marine corrosion involve the flow of electrical currents between immersed metals or between sites on the same metal. The problem is that this current flow has the potential to do extensive damage over short or long periods of time. Basic marine corrosion is introduced, along with some pictorial examples to assist you in understanding the basic concepts and issues.
Boat and Marina Electrical Safety
The NFPA 303 Standard, “Fire Protection Standard for Marinas and Boatyards” addresses marinas and docking facilities up to and including the shore power receptacle on the power pedestal. The NFPA Standard 302, “Fire Protection Standard for Pleasure and Commercial Motor Craft” along with the ABYC Standard E-11 cover everything from the shore-end of your shore power cord up to and including your boat.
Electric Shock Drowning
Electric shock drowning (ESD) is a form of waterborne fatality that involves paralysis of the body caused by AC current. The ultimate result is that a person in the water becomes unable to swim and often drowns as a result. This current is produced by voltage gradients in the water which are caused by electrical faults in the marine environment. Since saltwater is so conductive, the voltage gradients in salt water are normally low enough so as not to present a danger to people in the water. Our research has revealed that this only occurs in freshwater and includes 45 deaths and more than a hundred casualties. The Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association has more information about this issue or you can learn more below.