How to Add Shore Power to Your Boat

How to Add Shore Power to Your Boat

Correct us if we are wrong but chances are high you’ve invested quite a bit of money into your boat, right? As such, it only makes sense to educate yourself about adding shore power to your boat, as improper usage of AC power can lead to severe injuries and property damage.

But first, how does shore power work on a boat? When you dock your boat, instead of using your engines to continually power electronic devices and equipment, which would be a complete waste and put unnecessary wear on the system, you essentially plug into the dock’s power outlet using a specialized marine cord set. Once plugged in, you can charge your cooking equipment, radio, power tools, or something as simple as a mobile device, like a phone or tablet, for extended use.

There are many benefits to boat shore power, notably safety. If you attempt to power AC-reliant electronics without a proper power source, you risk electrical shock, among other severe drawbacks.

If you’re interested in adding shore power to boats, you’ve come to the right place to learn more about installing shore power, why you may benefit from shore power, and even how to use shore power on a boat.

Let’s dive straight into shore power 101!

Dock Power Troubles

A shore power system provides extended, reliable use over the years. But this is electrical equipment we’re talking about, which usually doesn’t mix with a marine environment. That being said, most shore power equipment sufficiently protects against water damage.

Even so, there are risks. Most notably, the risk of overheating and saltwater immersion.

Regarding overheating, it is a common problem that many boaters find themselves enduring. The shore power circuit overheats due to corrosion or bad connections. To avoid such issues, inspect shore power cords, outlets, and couplings regularly before use.

For saltwater immersion, try to avoid dropping shore power equipment and connections into saltwater. As you likely know, salt is corrosive and causes contacts to fail, leading to faulty electrical connections and serious overheating concerns.

Such risks are relatively minor, though, and installing shore power on boats is common worldwide.


If you have questions about shore power, look no further. We have answers!

Will shore power charge my boat batteries?

It is possible to charge boat batteries via shore power by connecting a battery charger to your electrical system, which then plugs into the shore power outlet on the dock. You can buy battery chargers online or via local vendors.

How do you switch from a generator to shore power?

Here is a step-by-step guide to switching from a generator to shore power and vice-versa:

  1. First, turn off your shore power breaker at the distribution panel, then the branch circuits, then the main breaker to prevent overloading the generator.
  2. Turn the breaker off on the dockside power pedestal, then unplug your power cord.
  3. Before starting up the generator, run the blower. You can use a transfer breaker to switch to the generator from shore power, allowing the generator to warm up for up to 10 minutes before powering individual circuits.
  4. Before turning off the generator, shut down individual systems and allow the generator to cool for up to 10 minutes without any load. Once completely shut off, close the intake seacock to prevent water from entering the cooling system.
  5. Lastly, plug in the shore power coat to the boat, then the dockside power outlet. Then, switch on the breaker at the dockside power pedestal before using the transfer switch on your boat. You may then power on individual circuits.

Is it safe to start the generator while on shore power?

Yes, you may power on your generator while still connected to shore power. The generator cannot feed energy on modern boat systems if AC is present on the transfer panel.

However, as an added precaution, many boaters turn off their generator and ensure all circuits are shut off entirely before connecting shore power to prevent overloading the system.

Contact Us Today

When it comes to shore power systems, you don’t want to skimp on quality. After all, this is your boat’s electrical system we’re talking about. Atlas Marine Systems offers a broad selection of high-quality marine electrical systems designed with you in mind!

When it comes time to learn how to install shore power on a boat, let Atlas Marine Systems be your first and last call. Contact us today for more information on our wonderful products, and then get back to the boat of your dreams!

If at any time you require assistance, please reach out to our comprehensive support network.

By |2021-06-15T14:58:41-05:00June 11th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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