Electrical Webinar Series

Six one hour electrical topics presented by Ed Lether. Ed is a retired electronic technician, designer, consultant, and instructor. His retirement activities include working with the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association to promote ESD awareness, particularly in the marina environments. Ed assists marinas with ESD investigation and mitigation. Additionally, Ed helps marina operators and boaters investigate and resolve ground-fault trip issues. Ed has also become involved in the endeavors to ensure that the National Electrical Code writers understand the marina and recreational boating environment when adding new requirements to the code.

Marinas, Shore Power, Ground Fault Protection, and the NEC

March   - Shore Power & the National Electrical Code
Recreational boaters are encountering a new challenge when putting in at new marinas or marinas that have recently upgraded their electrical distribution systems.  The alternating current shore power, taken for granted for so many years, has suddenly become a challenging, and often unpleasant, issue for many in the boating community.  Circuit breakers on new and upgraded docks are tripping at an annoyingly high rate.  Boaters often focus their displeasure—or worse—on the marina operator.  Interestingly, in almost all cases, the marina is not at fault.  So, what has changed.  This session will address those changes. Questions will be taken.
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April     -  Ground-Fault Protection in the Marina; What is it and why is it now required?
Just about everyone is familiar with the GFCI (Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupter).  Just look in the kitchen or the nearest bathroom.  GFCIs where first required by the NEC in 1971 and they are found in many places, including on marina docks.  What's relatively new is the ground-fault protection for equipment (GFPE or just GFP) required for shore power service, first required by the 2011 edition of the NEC.  What is GFP and how does it work?  How is it different from the GFCI?  Does it provide adequate protection for individuals and other creatures in the water nearby?  Is the shore power reliable where GFP is installed?  This session will address these and other questions.
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May     -  "Clamping" Shore Cords; A Valid & Important Exercise
More and more, marinas are becoming aware of safety concerns associated with the delivery of electrical power to their docks. As with almost everything else in the marine environments, inspection, monitoring, and maintenance of the electrical system is key to safe operation and performing the due diligence necessary to minimize liability. Many marinas are "clamping" shore cords with a leakage meter to check for electrical currents in the water around their customer's boats. We will discuss the validity of such a procedure and explain what it does and does not reveal. We will also have a brief look at possible next steps in the process.  
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June     -  Troubleshooting the Problem Boat (for technical/service staff)
Part 1 included a review of the challenges faced by marinas and boaters as ground-fault protection becomes a larger and larger part of the boating environment. It is bad enough when one has a problem, but far worse when no one can be found to locate and correct it. This technical session will review many of the known causes of GFP tripping, and how to diagnose, locate, and correct the condition. While all are welcome, this session will be directed toward those individuals that have some understanding of electrical circuits and how they work. Familiarity with AC electrical systems aboard boats and with the operation and use of basic electrical text tools will be helpful.

July      -  Electric Shock Drowning, The Marina Perspective
The phrase "Electric Shock Drowning" has found its way into the mainstream of public information. Thankfully, more and more people are learning that one should not enter the water in a marina, or, for that matter, anywhere electrical equipment is in use. In this presentation, we will review the primary cause of the ESD hazard, how it effects its victims, education and awareness, and mitigation of the danger. The information provided will be of value to marina operators and boaters alike.

August    - Ground-Fault Systems – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
This session will provide a review of the current ground-fault requirements per the National Electrical Code and general best practices for a marina electrical system.  Electrical problems within a marina can be minimized or avoided if they are detected early and addressed immediately.  The presentation will provide a checklist and many examples of what owners, operators, and maintenance individuals should be looking for during routine marina inspections to minimize potential issues before they happen.

September -
Marina Drownings, Life Rings and Safety Ladders:
Carl Wolf, a Certified Marina Manager and a Certified Marine Investigator conducted a research project titled "Marina Drownings, Life Rings and Safety Ladders."  The research project explored the magnitude and frequency of persons unintentionally falling and subsequently drowning in marina waters, and specifically whether this danger has been properly addressed.  Furthermore, Carl will address existing codes/regulations and recommendations on life rings and safety ladders at marinas.  A link to Carl's research project will be provided towards the end of his webinar presentation.  

October - NFPA 303 - Guidelines and Changes for Marina Electrical Codes:
This webinar will examine the variances between different versions of NFPA 303.  It will also look at the necessary steps to make sure your marina follows the most up-to-date regulations. We will examine who needs to follow the most up-to-date codes and how to proactively design your marina for upcoming revisions. Types of testing equipment available on the market will also be introduced to show marina owners and operators how to identify problem vessels before they enter your marina.

November - Marina Electrical Preventative Maintenance Program 101
Marina electrical systems are a critical part of your marina facility, providing your customers with the power they need to spend quality time on the water. Also, maintaining these systems is key to keeping your customers and employees safe. But, does your marina regularly, proactively maintain these systems? Do you have a plan in place so that regular maintenance is conducted?  In this first part of a two-part series you will learn the critical aspects of a maintenance plan and how to set one up at your marina.