Cape Coral, FL
DON CASEY: Yes, but not necessar-
ily because they’re sailboats, although that
could be a factor. For safety reasons, to keep
an AC leak from going to ground in the
water, the DC ground on most boats is con-
nected to the AC ground. Anytime two or
more boats connect to the same shore power
circuit, they share an AC ground connec-
tion. That essentially connects the under-
water metal on your boat to the underwater LL Boat US 1-3 Pg Ad 4-14-11_Layout 1 4/15/11 10: 58 AM Page 1
the site; you’ll need to alert these people or
change the names and numbers for the trip.
This assumes your friend has already registered the EPIRB and given the proper info.
If he hasn’t, he (or you as his authorized
agent) will have to go to that site and register
it, at which time you can give the needed
When the trip is over, go back to the site
and update the info. If you have questions,
there’s a phone number for help on the site.
I’ve found them to be very helpful. I’d call
them, anyway, to be sure you’ve covered
all the bases, as it’s a loaner. Be sure the
beacon’s battery is good and test it carefully
according to its instructions (with which you
should become very familiar), before you go.
metal of the boats around you that are
sharing that AC circuit. If your underwater
metal is different from the boats around
you, then you have the components of a big
battery — dissimilar metals submerged in
an electrolyte, in this case seawater. If your
underwater metal is less noble — an aluminum outdrive, for example — while the
neighboring boats have bronze or stainless-steel underwater fittings (as sailboats tend to
do), the aluminum suffers corrosion.
DC leakage from nearby boats might
also be seeking ground through your shore-power connection, greatly accelerating the
corrosion potential. The short-term solution
is to unplug your boat. If you have some
compelling reason to leave it plugged in,
then install a galvanic isolator into the green
AC grounding wire, right at the inlet fitting.
IS BAD COMPANY
DESTROYING MY ZINCS?
It seems that my zinc anodes need replacement
rather quickly for no apparent reason. I recently
moved to a new slip and I’m surrounded by
sailboats. Could that have anything to do with
the corrosion of my zincs?
HOT AND NOT
We have a hot-water heater that works sometimes, but not at others. There’s power at the
circuit breaker, but no hot water. Is there a relay
or switch between the board and the heater, or
should I be changing elements?
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