SURVEYOR NOTEBOOK 2-1-2018

Overcurrent Protection! What's the big deal?

  

From ABYC E-11;

E-11.10 OVERCURRENT PROTECTION 

11.10.1 LOCATION OF OVERCURRENT PROTECTION (For) DC CIRCUITS 

11.10.1.1 General Requirements 

11.10.1.1.1 Overcurrent Protection Device Location - Ungrounded conductors shall be provided with overcurrent protection within a distance of seven inches of the point at which the conductor is connected to the source of power measured along the conductor. 

EXCEPTIONS: 

1. Cranking motor conductors. 

2. If the conductor is connected directly to the battery terminal and is contained throughout its entire distance in a sheath or enclosure such as a conduit, junction box, control box or enclosed panel, the overcurrent protection shall be placed as close as practicable to the battery, but not to exceed 72 inches.

3. If the conductor is connected to a source of power other than a battery terminal and is contained throughout its entire distance in a sheath or enclosure such as a conduit, junction box, control box or enclosed panel, the overcurrent protection shall be placed as close as practicable to the point of connection to the source of power, but not to exceed 40 inches.  

4. Overcurrent protection is not required in conductors from self-limiting alternators with integral regulators if the conductor is less than 40 inches, is connected to a source of power other than the battery, and is contained throughout its entire distance in a sheath or enclosure. 

5. Pigtails less than 7 inches in length are exempt from overcurrent protection requirements. ..............


What's the big deal? For one thing it is no longer just a recommended ABYC standard, it is the law. Federal Code of Regulations; 33 CFR 183.455 pretty closely states word for word the above recommendation. The purpose of these regulations and standards is to prevent the loss of life and property due to onboard fires. A short circuit in a DC circuit should trip an overcurrent device, not use the wire or an electrical device as a fuse and "let the smoke out" in the form of flames. 


So if nothing else it is a good idea. Questions feel free to call or email.

Surveyor Notebook 1-1-2018

Boat Shopping Online

   

Accurate photos or glamour shots? In the course of my job poking around boats, I often hear from my clients "the boat does not look like the brokers photos". As a buyer you need to remember the brokers photographs are sales literature, meant to show this is the boat of your dreams. I do not often see photos that I believe are meant to deceive, just to show a buyer the boat is worth a visit. If you are not enticed to look, you may miss out on the boat of your dreams. So, ask if the photos are current, ask for close ups of areas of interest. Often the boat is not local to a potential buyer. As a buyer you can seek a surveyor local to the boat to have a look for you and give you feedback on its general condition.  After all,  the boat may just be the boat of your dreams. Or, for two or three hours labor cost the surveyor may save you a lot of travel time and expense, not to mention the aggravation and first hand disappointment of seeing a boat suffering from years of deferred maintenance not depicted in the  photos.

SURVEYOR NOTEBOOK 12-1-2017

Winterize - Who Me?

  Often, in the fall during the process of a survey here in eastern North Carolina, clients will ask about the need to winterize a boat in this part of the world. Many are transplants from the cold northland like myself thinking of those lower 50° average daytime temperatures in January. Well the water temperatures may not often go below 40° and even skim ice rare, but below freezing temperatures are not that rare. Every year since our relocation to east central North Carolina I have seen temperatures drop below 20° every winter. Two nights down to 16° in a row and a daytime high of 30° and the potential for freeze damage is real. And every spring I have been onboard boats that have had freeze damage. While burst freeze damage to major engine components is not common, damage caused by raw water system freeze damage can be serious due to flooding. Fresh water system damage due to burst components may not be as catastrophic, but it can be messy. Do yourself a favor, anti-freeze is cheap insurance, winterize all your fresh and raw water systems onboard yourself or hire a contractor, you will sleep better and have a better spring. I give this advice to everyone down to the Georgia-Florida line.   

Surveyor Notebook 11-1-2017

Sailboat Fire, Photo by Terry Healy IStock

Kidde Fire Extinguisher Recall

  One of the things that conjures up more fear than drowning while boating is a fire onboard. There is just cause for this due to the confined space of a boat, the likely hood of explosive products on board and the limited options for escape. Now it seems that one of the two essential items we keep onboard as required by law for safety's sake may be being recalled. Kidde, one the leading manufacturers of fire fighting equipment is recalling 40 million fire extinguishers dating back to the 1970's, many of which will be found on our boats. Many vessels I have surveyed recently have had one or more of these recalled fire extinguishers onboard. The easiest way to determine if you may have one onboard is to check the handle, the recalled ones have plastic handles. Take time to check the link below to see if your fire extinguishers have been recalled. Many will be branded by names other than Kidde. Remember, a working fire extinguisher and the know how to use it can be the difference between an inconvenience and a disaster onboard.