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shore power

how do i fit a shore power to my narrowboat

Asked by: dave sykes  | 5.55pm, Saturday 24 December

WW says:

The simplest way is to buy a combined power cable and RCD box, from a camping shop. These have the circuit breakers for the 3 attached sockets, as well as a residual current earth leakage circuit breaker to protect from electrocution. They are around the £50 mark and are the basic, safe way to add 230V mains power to a boat. They are only really suitable for light or occaisional use though, as the hull isn't part of the earth return.
The most basic fixed installation consists of a male Marechal blue inlet socket, a shoreline power lead (with male fitting for shore connection, female socket to fit to boats inlet socket), a consumer unit with RCCD and mini circuit breakers for each ring main or service (like immersion heater, battery charger) that you fit.
Wiring to all sockets should be multistrand 3 core wiring NOT solid conductors (which you often find in house wiring) as the solid wires can crack with vibration- and are mentioned in the Boat Safety Scheme.
That is the most basic installation, however it is sensible to add a galvanic isolator into the system, and to ensure that the earth return is not solely through the mains cable back to shore but also includes the boats hull, if made of metal.
All 230V cabling must be distinct from and be separated from other cabling such as low-voltage (12 or 24V DC) supplies-so they cannot share a conduit, for example. Neither should they pass through the bilge space- and must be suitably supported.
If you are unsure about any aspect of installing 230V systems then you would be best employing a boatyard to do the work. Any mistakes are potentially life threatening and if an improper system is installed it could overheat and cause damage- and may invalidate insurance. It would not be an expensive job, and, like gas systems, often best left to the professionals if you are at all unsure.
If you have any specific questions about shorepower, please ask and we will do our best to answer them.

Mark Langley  | 11.58AM, Sunday 25 December

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