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Old 31-03-2019, 14:19   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Finland
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Thumbs up Boat electrics soaked with/immersed on saltwater - what happens? and how much?

Hi,

this issue is closely related to my forthcoming thesis work, and I'm going to test this by myself eventually. But I thought it would be wise to ask around, in case this kind of test is already done somewhere.
On storm-related accident reports involving sail- and motorboats, there is quite often a line: "electrics were down because system was flooded".
I think this is merely a system design and installation issue more than an 'inevitable force of nature' that just happens and just needs to be accepted...

So, to define the issue, my question specifically:

When boat's electric system is soaked, or flooded, with typical saltwater:
- How much stray current goes between battery terminals?
- What is bus voltage, typically, on soaked main switchboard?
- How much voltage is typically left for (not soaked) marine VHF terminals?

And the answers I wish I could see:

1. Has there been a similar test done by someone? By a sailing magazine, or perhaps officials like coast guard, etc.

2. Any first-hand observations of voltage on flooded systems, and/or observations on how long it took until batteries were depleted by stray current?

And, yes, I understand that there is no standard case. And, I can, and have, guesstimated these factors already based on seawater conductivity and typical surface areas and distance
But, as we know, reality is not always in agreement with theoretical calculations... so 'anecdotal evidence' has an intrinsic value on this kind of not-so-easily-defined cases (y)

For my thesis work, this is to help to build a picture on what really happens, how fast, and then - what to do about it, how, and what's the expense.

Thank you in advance! Cheers!
Petri JC Flander
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