With summer in full swing, make sure its a safe one. That includes your boat dock at the family vacation spot. The Electrical Connection is reminding everyone to ensure their dock is electrically safe with this quick list of tips.
A GFCI is an absolutely essential safety precaution for any boat dock owner. Without a GFCI installed on each electrical receptacle, you and anyone else you take out on your boat are in danger of freak electrical accidents that could result in injury or even death.
To prevent any accidents, the 2011 National Electrical Code (NEC) (articles 533 and 555) requires all docks to be outfitted with these fast-acting circuit breakers. In the case of any faulty electrical wiring or equipment, this device reacts within 1/40 of a second to close off the electrical current and keep you and your family safe.
Once you have a GFCI installed, make sure it works and stays working. That means having monthly tests done by a local fire code professional to ensure that your device is free from any malfunctions. That’s right–once a month. Don’t skip it. Take just a little time out from the sun and fun to guarantee safety.
This device connects all the metal parts of your dock to a ground rod on the shore. When your dock is properly grounded in this manner, any electrical charge on your dock will trigger the GFCI and shut off power immediately. The combination of these two devices ensure that the only thing you’ll need to worry about on your summer getaway is running out of sun-tan lotion.
Even if your dock is professionally installed and grounded, neighboring docks can still be a shock hazard. Don’t take the chance on a completely avoidable accident. Share this valuable safety knowledge to adjacent dock owners.
No matter how handy you are, never take a risk on doing an electrical job yourself. Due to the nature of electricity, even a slightly faulty installation can cause a potentially dangerous environment for you and your family. Use a licensed electrical contractor for the installation of your GFCI, bonding jumpers and emergency shut off switches to ensure that if anything goes wrong you can be safe without even going on your dock.
Now that you’re set up with a professionally installed, safe dock, it’s up to you to make sure it stays that way. With the natural elements that a dock is constantly under, any number of problems and malfunctions can occur. Have a professional inspect your dock’s electrical system at least once a year to ensure that your dock is ready for all the summer fun you deserve.
These simple steps will bring you up to code with the NEC and make your next lake trip as safe as it is fun.
The first step to all of this is finding the right electrical contractor for the job. A process that can be a lot harder than you might expect. Let us make that decision a whole lot simpler. We work with more than 100 licensed electrical contractors and thousands of electricians and technicians in the greater St. Louis area. Because of our long-lasting relationships with so many reliable professionals, we can guarantee the best in NECA/IBEW contractors. To find an electrical contractor to bring your dock up to code, try our Find a Contractor Directory Search today.
Keep this list on hand at the boat house. Download a PDF of this article’s information, as well as many other useful resources.
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