Boat Dock Electrical Safety

The Lake of the Ozarks is a great place to visit and have fun.

Some straight forward applications of the National Electrical Code and using licensed electrical contractors to install and maintain boat dock electrical systems will help ensure it is a family fun destination. As the state’s foremost authority on safe and quality electrical installations, the Electrical Connection offers the following tips to boat dock owners to ensure their docks are electrically safe:

  • At a minimum, all electrical installations should comply with articles 553 (residential docks) and 555 (commercial docks) of the 2011 National Electrical Code which mandates a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) on all dock receptacles. A GFCI measures the current in a circuit. An imbalance of that current, such as a discharge into the water, will trip the GFCI cutting off power.
  • The GFCI should be tested at least once a month or per the manufacturer’s specifications. The GFCI should be located somewhere along the ramp to the dock so it can be easily found and tested by local fire departments as needed.
  • The metal frame of docks should have “bonding jumpers” on them to connect all metal parts to a ground rod on the shore. That will ensure any part of the metal dock that becomes energized because of electrical malfunction will trip the GFCI or the circuit breaker.
  • Even if your dock’s electrical system has been installed by a licensed electrical contractor and inspected, neighboring docks can still present a shock hazard. Ensure your neighbor’s dockside electrical system complies with the National Electrical Code and has been inspected.
  • All electrical installations should be performed by a licensed electrical contractor.
  • Because docks are exposed to the elements, their electrical systems should be inspected at least once a year.

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