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Electricity Cable Troubleshooting


26 February 2018

It's that time of year when we see many boats having trouble with their shore power connections. In many instances, we find reasons that were potentially avoidable. We've therefore compiled a list of top tips when it comes to electricity cables...

The Basics

Which cables should I use?

We only endorse Metermaid meters within the marina. We also strongly advise the use of IP67 plugs and sockets which is the highest waterproof rating available.

Using your meter

  • All boats using electricity must have a metered cable
  • If you are a new Berth Holder or you have a new meter, please provide us with the serial number and your first meter reading prior to plugging in
  • When using your meter, please ensure it is placed on the pontoon
  • We will take readings from your meters quarterly and invoice you accordingly
  • Any boats not on a meter will be charged the daily rate.


Why has my electricity tripped?

There are generally two reasons for tripping:

  1. Power overload - there are too many appliances switched on at once, or the initial spike in powering up certain appliances overloads the trip. Trip switches in the marina environment are required to be extra sensitive compared to your standard home switchboards.
  2. Earth issues - water, in any part of the circuit, will cause the system to trip.

Water & electricity

Whatever your waterproof rating, water can travel through one plug into another causing rust, corrosion and earth issues. Water can enter the plug through a large hole around the cable, travel through the plug,  along the pins and into the socket that it is attached to, ultimately ruining both.

As a result, an electrical circuit is only as good as its weakest link - even brand new meters will only work efficiently if plugs and sockets aren't exposed to water.


Red flashing light

On your meter, you will notice a red flashing light. You can roughly gauge how much electricity you are drawing as the speed of this flash will increase with the amount of electricity you have. The flashing red may turn into a full red light. As soon as this full red light appears, you should address the issue immediately as your meter is faulty.

Damaged circuits

Any plug that shows signs of rust or corrosion should be replaced immediately. Rust can cause increased resistance resulting in a build up of heat and the risk of melting plugs. You should avoid trying to nurse a plug or socket by taping up the weak spots. This is ultimately a safety issue but it will also ensure you don’t suffer the inconvenience of a loss of power at an inconvenient time, and reduce the risk of damage to your meter.

In extreme cases, a short circuit has the potential to damage a meter which would not be covered by the meter's warranty.

Plugs, sockets & cables don't last forever!

In the marine environment, damage is inevitable and rubber seals perish over time. 

By ensuring you use IP67 rated equipment, and taking basic steps to ensure your equipment stays in good condition, you will be best placed to survive in the hostile marine environment which they live. 


Example 1: 

  • This is not an IP67 plug
  • Rust is visible on the exterior which means it is likely to be rusty inside
  • The join between the cable and the plug is torn which means water can easily penetrate the inside of this plug

Example 2:

  • The pins are heavily rusted and corroded due to water penetration
  • The water has travelled through the back of the plug into the pins.
  • Water can now subsequently be passed to the next plug
  • This setup can cause host spots, leading to electrical shorts and the potential to damage the meter

Example 3:

  • If rust is visible on the exterior (on the screws in this case) then it is cause for concern
  • The join between the cable and the plug doesn't have sufficient casing and water protection
  • Over time, this will cause the plug to damage quicker than an IP67 plug.

Click on the image to enlarge and scroll


Our Haven Team are on-site 24/7 so please do not hesitate to come to the marina office for some free, impartial advice, or if you're experiencing any issues. We'll be happy to help and/or recommend some local marine electronics experts to provide you with any further assistance.