Private Boat Dock Electrical

Due to a disagreement with a dock builder and having to supply support for comments I included in a recent inspection report regarding electrical installation and equipment on a the boat dock, I assembled this lsit of requirements from research.

All comments are welcome. Corrections needed if you can provide supporting source of correction. Everyone is welcome to use this checklist for business as needed.

**Electrical Installation Requirements for Private Boat Docks **

For use by owner or resident of single family dwelling

Contact your local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) for an inspection prior to supplying power to the dock
Electrical Installation:
All electrical installations shall be in compliance with 2008 National Electric Code and as amended by AHJ

  • All conductors shall be insulated copper conductors approved for the conditions of use
  • Each docking facility requiring electricity shall be supplied by only one (1) set of feeder conductors from the residential house panel. One (1) single branch circuit can serve as a feeder conductor if it is connected to a feed through module GFI disconnecting means.
  • Overcurrent device(s) or disconnecting means designed to disconnect all electrical power supplying the docking facility shall be located onshore and within six (6) feet of the docking facility ramp it serves
  • The bottom height of the Overcurrent device(s) or disconnecting means shall be 42” above the dock walkway at the shore connection
  • A grounding electrode (in compliance with NEC) shall be installed the onshore overcurrent device(s) or disconnecting means.
  • An insulated grounding electrode conductor(sized in accordance with NEC, but not smaller than #6 AWG) shall be installed connecting the grounding electrode to the equipment grounding terminal at each onshore sub panel or disconnecting means enclosure(s).
  • An insulated equipment grounding conductor (sized in accordance with NEC, but not smaller than #12 AWG) shall be installed inside all conduit systems with the circuit conductors.
  • All conductors (Feeder & Branch Circuit) shall be sized for the overcurrent device protecting the conductors and shall be sized to not allow more than 3% voltage drop as recommended in NEC.
  • Conduits, boxes and fittings approved for the condition of use, shall protect all feeder and branch circuit conductors
  • All underground conduit systems shall be approved for the condition of use and shall comply with NEC.
  • All conduits shall be sized in accordance with NEC
  • Liquidtight Flexible Metal conduit(with grounding bushings) or Liquidtight Flexible Nonmetallic conduit with approved fittings shall be permitted where flexibility is required in a conduit system such as hinge points of ramps and floating structures subject to elevation changes due to changes in water levels.
  • All non-current carrying metal parts of docking facility such as metal piping, metal equipment enclosures, metal frames of the structure and ramps, ,metal swim ladders and other metals in contact with the water or may become electrically energized shall be electrically bonded to the equipment grounding system
  • A bonding jumper with a loop (Sized in compliance with NEC, but not smaller than #6AWG) shall be installed around all hinge points of metal ramps, floating structures and docks subject to elevation changes due to changes in water levels
  • All non current carrying metallic parts of the electrical system shall be bonded to the equipment grounding system (Panels enclosures, gutters, junction boxes, switch boxes, receptacle boxes, etc.)
  • All receptacle outlets shall be GFCI protected for personnel unless the outlet is for a dedicated purpose and installed in an enclosed area of the structure protected from the weather. All receptacle outlets shall be installed at least 36” above the finish dock surface or as approved by local AHJ.
  • All “Marine Shore Power outlets” shall be GFCI protected for personnel with a disconnecting means within 30 inches
  • All large metallic enclosures, such as panels, cabinets, cut out boxes, etc. installed in wet location areas, shall be installed with a minimum of ¼” air space between enclosures and supporting surface they are mounted on.
  • All electrical equipment installed within 8 feet vertically from the dock finish surface or exposed to the weather shall be suitable for wet locations and shall have weep holes
  • All electrical equipment installed below roofed open areas, protected from weather and installed above 8 feet from the dock finish surface shall be suitable for damp locations
  • All general use receptacle outlets shall be installed in weatherproof enclosures with ”In Use Type” weatherproof attachment plug covers
  • All general use switches shall be installed in weatherproof enclosures with weatherproof switch covers
  • All luminaries (lighting fixtures) installed exposed to the weather shall be suitable for use in wet locations. All luminaries (lighting fixtures) installed where protected from the weather shall be suitable for use in damp locations
  • All electrical equipment such as receptacle outlets, switches, junction boxes, lighting fixtures, etc. shall not be installed within 6 feet of any ladders attached to the docking facility
  • All metal ladders permanently attached to the docking facility shall be bonded to the equipment grounding system.
  • All metal ladders not permanently attached to the docking facility shall have means for bonding to the equipment grounding system
  • All conductors from the shore to the docking facility shall be protected from physical damage. Conduits shall be approved for the condions of use ( Weatherproof, Sunlight resistance, etc.)

Dock Wiring Inspection Checklist


Feeder from the main panel to sub panel shall be 4 wire for 240 volt system or 3 wire for 120 volt system and sized for the load.
2. Conduit that is buried from the building to the sub-panel shall be schedule 40 PVC for underground use.
3. Junction box on the outside of the building serving the dock shall be weatherproof.
4. The feeder from the sub-panel to the dock shall be schedule 40 PVC (sunlight resistant) and must be liquid tight flexible conduit at all pivot points.
5. The conduit from the J-box to the dock sub-panel or disconnect shall be sized for the conductors.
6. The sub-panel shall be at the seawall next to the dock ramp and shall have a disconnecting means.
7. All grounding conductors shall have continuous outer finish that is green including all bonding wires.
8. The grounding conductors shall be connected to the grounding bus in the sub-panel and to the ground rod. Grounding Bus and Grounded Bus must be separated.
9. A grounding electrode shall be in place. (At least 8 feet long and trade size of ½ inch).
10. The grounding conductor shall be sized correctly for the circuit (minimum #6) and attached with a separate clamp directly to the grounding electrode.
11. #6 grounding wire from the ground rod to the metal parts of the ramp with approved terminals.
12. #6 grounding wire jumper shall be installed between all pivot points in the ramp, dock stiff arms, breakwaters, etc.
13. All metal enclosure and exposed metal parts of the electrical system shall be bonded to the grounding bus with approved terminals.
14. All metal parts, metal piping and all non-current carrying metal parts must be bonded to the panel board.
15. All outlet receptacles shall be GFCI protected unless the outlet is a dedicated outlet in an enclosed structure.
16. All general use outlet receptacles shall be a minimum 36 inches from the finished dock surface.
17. All outlets dedicated for a piece of equipment shall be of the Marine Twist Lock type and GFCI protected. A disconnecting means must be within 30 inches of outlet or approved pedestal installation.
18. All GFCI outlets receptacles shall work when tested.
19. All cabinets and cutout boxes shall be a minimum of ¼ inch of airspace between the enclosure and supporting surface.
20. All enclosures below 8 feet or exposed to weather shall be in weatherproof enclosures and suitable for wet locations with allowable weep holes.
21. All fixtures above 8 feet and below a roof or overhang shall be suitable for damp location.
22. All general use receptacles shall have an attachment plug cover (“in use” type).
23. All switches shall be in weatherproof enclosures or cabinets.
24. Receptacles, switch boxes and junction boxes shall not be within 6 feet of a ladder for the dock.
25. Any metal ladder on the dock shall have #6 wire jumpers to dock frame from ladder base and to ladder if hinged (Frame can be bolted to dock frame).

Even professional installations can be problematic.

This is sad:

If there are stray currents around the marina that are that powerful, I am glad I never brought my steel hulled sailboat anywhere near the place.

See 2011 NEC, ARTICLE 555
Marinas and Boatyards

555.1 Scope. This article covers the installation of wiring
and equipment in the areas comprising fixed or floating
piers, wharves, docks, and other areas in marinas, boatyards,
boat basins, boathouses, yacht clubs, boat condominiums,
docking facilities associated with residential condominiums,
any multiple docking facility, or similar occupancies, and facilities
that are used, or intended for use, for the purpose of
repair, berthing, launching, storage, or fueling of small craft
and the moorage of floating buildings.
Private, noncommercial docking facilities constructed or
occupied for the use of the owner or residents of the associated
single-family dwelling are not covered by this article.

Informational Note: See NFPA 303-2006, Fire Protection
Standard for Marinas and Boatyards, for additional
information.

Ralph,

thanks for taking the time to compile and freely share a useful tool

Barry & All,

I have gained kowledge and loads of info from others here. I am not sure the list is complete and hope others will add needed items of inspection.
Boat dock inpsection busted a 1.7 milllion dollar sale due to this dispute with boat dock builder. Buyer wass a lawyer and I was just Covering My A**

Added note- When I called the AHJ building inspector and asked him what needed to be inspected on boat docks- The answer " I have NO clue, or there special requirements different from the house?"from the

See NEC 210.8(a)( 8 ) and 210.8© for rules covering GFCI requirements for boathouses.

See this from the CPSC as well:

http://www.cpsc.gov/BUSINFO/bthoist.html

I had solar power installed on my private dock. Other than using marine grade batteries, inverter, and using conduit the corp of engineers did not seem that concern when they approved the work.

I am only powering two boat lifts for the most part but I have used blenders, small power tools, and of course lighting.

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