While docked, many boaters like to take advantage of the electrical hookups provided. Although it can be very convenient, faulty electrical work in shore power wiring and the overloading of onboard circuits are some of the leading causes of marina fires. Here’s how marinas can help reduce the risk of fires.

Connecting Safely

Shore power wiring can provide a substantial electrical load and represent a fire hazard if used improperly. Remember these safety tips while helping boats connect to the marina’s power supply:

  • Do not run normal outdoor extension cords from the dock to the boat. These cords are not designed to handle marine conditions and can deteriorate rapidly.
  • Only use cord sets and connectors that are specially rated for marinas.
  • Have boaters turn off all onboard power before connecting them to the power pedestal.
  • Always connect the cord set to the boat before connecting to the power pedestal on the dock. When removing power, always disconnect the cord from the power pedestal before disconnecting from the boat.
  • Do not hook up to a power pedestal if the cord will not firmly connect or if you see burn marks. If this problem presents itself, tell your supervisor immediately.
  • Make sure that cords have enough slack to account for any boat movement. If cords are too short, the tension could cause them to begin to fray near the connectors.
  • Replace any strained or damaged cord sets immediately. Look at cord sets as a preventative maintenance item, and replace them before they have a chance to deteriorate.

Power Usage

Overloading circuits can create possibilities for overheating and short-outs. Make sure you don’t go overboard on your energy use by remembering these tips:

  • Monitor how much power boats are using. Onboard appliances may overheat if not supplied with the proper voltage.
  • On busy days, distribute power usage between multiple power pedestals running on different circuits.
  • Unless you are specially trained to work on boat electrical systems, do-it-yourself electrical work is never acceptable. Faulty wiring can quickly become a fire hazard. Emergency Response

In the event of a marina fire:

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Evacuate any boaters and guests from the area.
  • Shut down all electrical power to the area.
  • Shut down any fuel pumps on the marina’s docks.
  • If it can be done safely, move nearby boats away from the fire.

Keep Boaters Aware

Teaching boaters how to keep themselves safe is one of the easiest ways to manage risk. If you or a customer has any questions or concerns about marina electrical safety, contact your supervisor.


For more resources for boating or marina safety, contact Bates Hewett & Floyd Insurance.


This Safety Matters flyer is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as medical or legal advice. © 2010, 2014, 2019 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.