The saddest thing I have ever seen...The fire in this video caused 23 MILLION DOLLARS in damage to the boats and the marina, and resulted in an environmental disaster due to all of the fuel tanks that leaked diesel and gasoline into the water.
The other night, there was a boat fire in Baltimore in which two boats burned. One caught fire, burned through its dock lines, drifted across the harbor, and caught another vessel on fire, where they both burned and sank. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.
|Photo credit: United States Coast Guard|
There are several problems with taking this short cut for winterizing your boat:
why shore power receptacles burn up. Fellow blogger and marine electrician Maine Sail has written an excellent article that is a topic all in itself. If you overload a poorly connected receptacle it could overheat without tripping the breaker, resulting in a fire. Make sure you TWIST LOCK the connector or it will result in a poor connection and overheat!
Fire caused by contact with a flammable object: If you think that all this can be avoided by just leaving a 100 watt light bulb lit all winter, this one's for you. That light bulb will get very hot. If it's not properly secured, it could come into contact with something flammable, and before you know it, your baby will be a pile of melted fiberglass.
|Seacock with freeze damage|
Freeze damage caused by a power outage: As if all of the above fire hazards are not scary enough, what happens if there is a power outage during sub-freezing temperatures? By the time you realize there is a problem, your engine and water lines will be frozen and split.
When I first started boating, I didn't realize the difference between power available at home and the very limited power available on a boat. On a boat with a single 30 amp shore power cord, you will not be able to use more than about 24 amps. When you think about all the things that people want to run on board these days, that starts adding up fast. At home, nobody thinks twice about plugging in another cell phone, vacuum cleaner, coffee maker, etc. But on a boat with limited power available, you can quickly overload your electrical system without even realizing it. Space heaters (or anything else that generate heat with electricity) are some of the biggest power hogs - and most likely to overload circuits.
Many marinas have strict policies when it comes to boats in winter storage and do not allow any type of unattended shore power or extension cord connections to boats that are stored in the yard.
Bottom line - taking shortcuts when it comes to your boat can cost you dearly. And as bad as you think you would feel if your boat burned, would you be able to live with yourself if your boat fire also destroyed a neighboring boat because they happened to be unlucky enough to be next to you?