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Old 05-23-2017, 09:19 PM   #1
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Shore power cord plugs - rain

Hi,
It's been raining for the last few days on/off. The last marina we were in, several slip holders had left their power cords on the dock when they went out enjoying boating.
My question is - why is it ok for the power cord ends to get rained on (wet) ?

Curious
Henry
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Old 05-23-2017, 09:22 PM   #2
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Hi,

It's been raining for the last few days on/off. The last marina we were in, several slip holders had left their power cords on the dock when they went out enjoying boating.

My question is - why is it ok for the power cord ends to get rained on (wet) ?



Curious

Henry

Well, our power cords at our dock get left out in the rain all the time. We try to remember to turn the power off of course before we unplug the boat and leave the cord laying on the dock. The end of the plug gets wet. No big deal. I do put dialectic grease on the plug periodically but never worry about the rain.
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Old 05-23-2017, 09:34 PM   #3
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if it is disconnected from shore power there is no issue. However keeping it connected to the shore power and disconnected on the other side, and under the rain, then there may be an issue. water+high voltage = no good result.

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Old 05-23-2017, 09:37 PM   #4
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Rain water is a poor conductor.
I sometimes have an extension cord at my house plugged in, and if it rains, sometimes it trips the GFCI outlet. So a few milliamps might flow if the cord gets rained on. A rain wet plug end is not likely to shock you, most of the current wants to go from hot to neutral or ground, and your body is an extra diversion. But it could kill you given the right conditions.

If the plug fell into salt water, it would be destroyed eventually by the large current flowing.
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Old 05-23-2017, 09:40 PM   #5
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Rain water is a poor conductor.
I sometimes have an extension cord at my house plugged in, and if it rains, it trips the GFCI outlet. So a few milliamps will flow if the cord gets rained on.

If the plug fell into salt water, it would be destroyed eventually by the large current flowing.
And if by no luck the breaker does not trip and you have the strange idea to plug it under the rain, well you may experience the thrill of your life... maybe the last one though
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Old 05-23-2017, 09:54 PM   #6
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yeah....maybe...but after a bazillion uses of extension cords in the rain...even without GFIs....never even had a tingle.


Immersion of a cord end is one thing....rain is another unless it is a hurricane with wind driven rain that is taking the paint off houses.


My shore power cord between ports usually just lays coiled up on the forward trunk cabin. Sometimes I try to cover the end...especially if expecting salt water spray...but often it just sits with the plug end uncovered...still looks like the day I bought it 3 years ago.
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Old 05-23-2017, 10:07 PM   #7
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I have plugged and unplugged so many wet extension cords, with no tingling shocking, nothing. Just my experience. All freshwater experiences.
I have picked up live extension cord ends soaking puddles without any tingling too.
Except one time, I did feel a slight tingle. Plug was on my driveway and sitting in a puddle. Maybe something was in the water that made it more conductive.
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:13 PM   #8
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Henry,
Good question. I've wondered about that for years. Never seems to be a problem and I'm glad to see others have had the same experience.
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:49 PM   #9
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You should always turn off the power at the dock before connecting or disconnecting a shore power cable. If they are powered up while connecting they can build up some burned contacts which will cause them to heat up under load. Also if they are dropped into the water by accident when powered up there is a possibility of electrocution if someone is in the water nearby, particularly in fresh water.
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Old 05-24-2017, 03:05 AM   #10
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Doesn't seem to bother these guys...
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Old 05-24-2017, 03:22 AM   #11
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When leaving berth, have always kept the cord onboard. Not aware of other boaters doing different. The cord is useful at other destinations, and if someone would steal a water hose from a berth, they certainly would take an electrical cord.
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Old 05-24-2017, 06:50 AM   #12
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"My question is - why is it ok for the power cord ends to get rained on (wet) ?"

No problem except theft.
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Old 05-24-2017, 07:44 AM   #13
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When leaving berth, have always kept the cord onboard. Not aware of other boaters doing different. The cord is useful at other destinations, and if someone would steal a water hose from a berth, they certainly would take an electrical cord.

We leave our "home" shorepower cord at the slip all the time. That way disconnecting before we leave and reconnecting on return takes about 30 seconds.

50-amp cord is heavy, and the stowing it for the trip would take some work. Better that we use our "home" cord to plug into our onboard "traveling" cord which is on the Cablemaster system (now) . And then we also carry another 50' spare, just in case the 65' Cablemaster cord won't reach (hasn't happened yet).

The home cord is routed from pedestal to an aft midship's pile -- and around that, a few wraps -- to the boat, so stealing it while our boat's not there would take some work and/or creativity.

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Old 05-24-2017, 09:29 AM   #14
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I used to be very religious about placing the junction of two cords on a block and under an upturned bucket. Now I hang the junction from the next boat's jackstand. Somehow, water never seems to make its way into a wall-mounted connection...but I see to it that the cord droops down from the receptacle.

GFIs are remarkable fittings! I once became annoyed on a jobsite when every time I tried to use a certain drill, the GFI tripped. I plugged the drill into a non-GFI receptacle and got a dandy tingle from it. At another jobsite, we had taken cover from a thunderstorm, power cords extending everywhere. We simply grabbed the tools and hid. Our safety inspector (worked for the insurance co.) walked on to the site and picked up an energized power cord and got a firm tingle...and he was mad at us!

Cords can look perfectly good, work perfectly well, but you can discover that they have damaged insulation.
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:36 AM   #15
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OK....reread the OP....


Not sure if the real question is it OK to leave it out in the rain, or leave it energized and laying about.


I would never suggest leaving it lying around energized, but all but a dunking or salt spray won't do much.


If they are leaving them around energized.... they may be a big part in getting the new fault interrupters installed on docks.
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:48 AM   #16
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When leaving berth, have always kept the cord onboard. Not aware of other boaters doing different. The cord is useful at other destinations, and if someone would steal a water hose from a berth, they certainly would take an electrical cord.

Maybe it is a California thing Mark. Up here in the PNW, many boaters leave a power cord on the dock, that way it is always setup and ready to go. It also keeps us from having to plug and unplug the cords to the power pedestal repeatedly. That ensures that we can keep a good solid connection there.

I've been doing it this way for as long as I can remember and have never had a power cord go missing. Currently I have a 25 foot 50A/125V cord that remains on the dock. It is zip tied to the dock a few places as well as nipped to a spring line which also stays on the dock. This keeps it from falling in the water as well as keeping any stress on the boat connection when plugged in.
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:49 AM   #17
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Oh, the ORIGINAL post? Most folks in our marina appear to leave their boats' cords plugged into the dock pedestals, and plugged into the boat. When they're off the dock, some leave their cords plugged in and coiled around the pedestal and other's take 'em with them.

Our marina is fairly small, 100 boats or so (but there are transients). There is apparently little theft. The water is brackish.

Taking the cue, we leave our trawler plugged in and the 110v service on. We never left the sailboats plugged in when on the dock and they did not have 110v service anyway.
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:03 AM   #18
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Doesn't seem to bother these guys...
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:00 PM   #19
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Thank you all for your input.
My original question could have been better stated - "Is there any concern about corrosion or water ingress to the connector or cord from rain if the connector is exposed?"

The cords I saw were still connected to the power pedestal (not sure if they were energized or not).

I keep the power cords on the boat as we have been moving for the last few years. My boat end of my power cord has a SmartPlug and it has a plastic cover that is on the plug when not in use. I have never thought about the other end of the cord. Many times the cord(s) are in lockers but I have left them on the deck some.

I would guess if there was a concern, Marinco or someone would be selling a cover for the power cord ends.

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Old 05-24-2017, 09:11 PM   #20
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Corrosion, I have not seen on my old cord ends.
If the connection was poor and your drawing lots of current, it will corrode from the heat, can even catch fire.
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