View Full Version : Tragic accident spurs stricter electric codes for marinas

05-23-2016, 07:44 AM
Tennessee has tightened up on the electrical codes for marinas. 2k per slip and that only got power back to the slips. I now need to rewire my boat. I wonder if many older marinas will just shut off their power as ours was relativity easy. I know our neighbor has a "book" of changes he has to do!
Two children in East Tennessee were drown due to a faulty wiring job. All marinas in Tennessee (not sure about other TVA lakes in other states) now face getting up to code or closure by TVA. Read "Noah Dean and Nate Act"
We (the owners of our marina) have had another power pole installed, a new breaker, new circuit breakers, new meters, new wiring and (because of age, 1980's) new conduct.
Also mandatory signage.
One thing I took from the article is if you ever feel electrical shock to swim AWAY from the dock. The exact opposite of what you want to do when in trouble.

Actually I am OK with BOAT in this case (break out another thousand ..or two) I feel better about kids being around our dock. The new breakers only take a few milliamps to reset.

05-24-2016, 06:52 AM
That happened several years ago. The marina where I had my boat up in TN had to rewire pretty much the entire marina because of it. They also tested everyone's boat to make sure that the boat was not leaking voltage into the water. If you were (I was not), then you were given a short amount of time to fix your problem or you had to leave the marina. They also prohibited swimming in the marina because of "insurance reasons" - that also led to some people leaving.

05-24-2016, 10:03 AM
The bill is named in memory of 10-year-old Noah Dean Winstead and 11-year-old Nate Lynam who died from electrical injuries they suffered on July 4, 2012, while swimming near a houseboat at a marina near Morristown, Tn. Since that time, their parents have worked to pass legislation to help ensure such a tragedy does not occur again.

“No parent should have to suffer this kind of tragedy,” said Senator Southerland. “This legislation implements safety measures to help ensure that the waters in and around boat docks and marinas are safe and that notices are posted to help protect the public.”

Details of the Senate Bill 1954 include:

Effective April 1, 2015, any main overcurrent protective device, installed or replaced, that feeds a marina must have a ground-fault protection not exceeding 100 milliamperes (mA);

Between Jan. 1, 2015, and Dec. 31, 2017 and every five years thereafter, a safety inspection must be made by the state fire marshal;

If a deficiency is found, the subsequent follow-up inspection required for repairs must be conducted by a commissioned deputy electrical inspector;

Permanent safety signage must be installed within 80 feet to give notice to persons using the boat dock or marina or swimming area near the boat dock or marina, of the electric shock hazard risks;

The bill prescribes penalties for violation of the proposed act which range from a Class A misdemeanor for violation of the ground-fault protection requirement when it does not result in bodily injury to a Class E felony if failure to adhere to the law results in death; and

If any boat dock or marina operator who is found guilty under this law fails to comply with the requirements within 90 days of the judgment, the state fire marshal will declare the boat dock or marina to be a threat to public safety and order its closure until it is in compliance.

“I applaud the courage of the parents of Noah Dean and Nate in working toward passage of this legislation,” said Senator Southerland. “It is a tremendous public safety bill that will help prevent serious electric shock injuries and drowning deaths in Tennessee.”

The bill is pending consideration in the House of Representatives. (Actually passed since this was written)

05-25-2016, 05:41 AM
My understanding is that the problem with the wiring that caused their deaths was on the boat, not part of the marina.

In any event, I question the technical training of the state fire marshal to determine the suitability of the wiring in a marine environment.

06-07-2016, 05:58 PM
This is tragic and should not have happened. Electric Shock drowning has been a known danger since the 90's and there are standards published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 303 Fire Protection Standard for Marinas and Boat Yards) which covers electrical standards for marinas and boat yards. This standard is law in many communities but unfortunately not in all. I can't imagine any insurance company insuring a marina that doesn't conform to NFPA 303.

ABYC has a free publication http://www.pcmarinesurveys.com/Marina%20Electrical%20Safety.pdf Best Management Practices for Marina Electrical Safety

There is also the ELECTRIC SHOCK DROWNING PREVENTION ASSOCIATION http://www.electricshockdrowning.org/

And it is not marinas alone. Boats need to be in compliance with ABYC E-11 AC and DC Electrical Standards on Boats. Boat manufacturers are aware of this but many boat owners are not and make modifications to their electrical systems that jeopardize the safety of their boat, their passengers and people in the water.

I have spent a good portion of my life trying to educate people to this and other safety issues, but especially electrical system and fuel system safety. But is is a hard sell because boat owners are an independent lot. Unfortunately it often takes something like this to wake people up. Sad but true. My prayers are with the families.

06-08-2016, 06:24 AM
While our marina has never had a problem I personally feel much better/safer now that we have updated. The one thing I cannot understand is the electrician charged three members $800.00 for the plug/receptacle, alone. Really? I did not say anything but the other boats still have the standard yellow rubber coated plug. / rect.?

06-08-2016, 05:19 PM
Each or all three total? Sounds rather pricey.

06-09-2016, 06:58 AM
each ($400.00 plug/$400.00 Rect.) $800.00 per boat for plug!

06-09-2016, 02:59 PM
A 30 amp ELCI from Blue Seas Systems is 381.08 One from Hubbell is a little more, around $450. And that is the top end. I have seen some on-line for a lot less. Marinco seems to have the least expensive ones. Labor is around $115.00 (at the places I go) and it shouldn't take more than an hour to install one, two if there are difficulties. But that doesn't add up to $800.00

06-10-2016, 05:46 AM
Yea I agree and the $800.00 was parts only. I forget the name and admit the quality looks great but.....

06-14-2016, 08:40 PM
Sounds like they are marking up the parts at least 10%.

Frantically Relaxing
06-15-2016, 03:04 PM
No matter how well, correct or to current code a dock is wired, all it takes is one boat with a bad toaster, the grounds & neutrals bonded or some clown breaking up his ground bonding in hopes of stopping galvanic corrosion to kill another swimmer.

There really should be some sort of law against swimming within 100' of any boat or dock connected to shore power.
It's akin to walking on the side of the freeway; cars SHOULD stay in their lanes and you SHOULD be safe-- but sooner or later.... (and it IS against the law to walk on the freeway!)