Marina & Boatyard Electrical Safety | Standards Michigan

Marina & Boatyard Electrical Safety

Electric Shock Drowning can directly electrocute a swimmer in the water or cause a level of paralysis that ultimately results in drowning.


Marina & Boatyard Electrical Safety

February 1, 2020
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“The Biglin Brothers Racing| Thomas Eakins (1872)

This week’s flooding owed to Hurricane Dorian, the beginning of another intercollegiate rowing season in which many facilities owned by educational institutions have fuel supply and electrical systems built near the water — in addition to an uptick in electrical shock drowning in recent years —  inspires a revisit of NFPA 303: Fire Protection Standard for Marinas and Boatyards.  Apart from athletic competition, many colleges, universities and trade schools with academic programs are responsible for safety of facilities located on fresh and saltwater shorelines; thus our interest.  From the NFPA 303 scope statement:

 This standard applies to the construction and operation of marinas, boatyards, yacht clubs, boat condominiums, docking facilities associated with residential condominiums, multiple-docking facilities at multiple-family residences, and all associated piers, docks, and floats.

This standard also applies to support facilities and structures used for construction, repair, storage, hauling and launching, or fueling of vessels if fire on a pier would pose an immediate threat to these facilities, or if a fire at a referenced facility would pose an immediate threat to a docking facility.

This standard applies to marinas and facilities servicing small recreational and commercial craft, yachts, and other craft of not more than 300 gross tons.

This standard is not intended to apply to a private, noncommercial docking facility constructed or occupied for the use of the owners or residents of the associated single-family dwelling.

No requirement in this standard is to be construed as reducing applicable building, fire, and electrical codes.

The standard of care for facilities owned by educational institutions is not appreciably different from the standard of care for any other Owner except some consideration should be given to the age and training of most of the occupants — students, of course — who are a generally transient population.  Some research projects undertaken on university-owned facilities are also subject to the local adaptions of NFPA 303.

Boathouse Row / Philadelphia

The 2016 Edition is the current edition and the next edition will be the 2021 revision.  Click on the link below to read what new ideas are running through it; mostly electrical that are intended to correlate with National Electrical Code Article 555 and recent electrical safety research*:

NFPA 303 Public Input Report for the 2021 Edition

At the moment, NFPA 303 is revised every five years; whereas the National Electrical Code is revised every three years.   The technical committees working on Second Draft comments have already met (online last month) and the results of that meeting will be released in January.  Comments are due February 19th.

You may submit comment directly to NFPA on this and/or any other NFPA consensus product by CLICKING HERE.  You will need to set up a (free) account.   NFPA 303 document is also on the standing agenda of our twice-monthly Electrical codes and standards meetings.  See our CALENDAR for the next online meeting; open to everyone.

Michigan Technological University

Issue: [16-133]

Category: Electrical, #SmartCampus, Facility Asset Management

Colleagues: Mike Anthony,  Jim Harvey


* Marina Risk Reduction

NFPA 70 National Electrical Code (Article 555)

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