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Old 30-06-2016, 08:31   #16
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

Do we have any insurance agents in the group? I'm going to look at my policy.

I suspect in this case the owner's insurance company is trying to mitigate some or all of their liability to the other boat owner.

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Old 30-06-2016, 08:46   #17
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

I turn my battery switch to the HOUSE side when it is sitting regardless of whether I'm on the hook or hooked up to shore power. All my circuits route through the battery isolation switch, including pumps.

If the marina looses power I want to the biggest battery bank driving the bilge pumps. In named storms, particularly hurricanes the marina's turn the power off to the docks.

If my insurance company wants to get on my back about leaving properly fused circuits online then they better QUIETLY and readily cut my a check if my boat sinks at the dock.

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Old 30-06-2016, 09:34   #18
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

On my old wooden boat it was a when leaving boat for more than a day or twolways George Bernard Shaw, GBS, turn off Gas, Batteries, Stopcocks.
The wiring and protection on modern boats (if it has not been modified) means short-circuits and ensuing fires would be very rare.
But - why take a chance - there is nothing worse than a fire on a boat in a marina or mooring.
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Old 30-06-2016, 09:40   #19
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

Always! I have watched two boats burn because of electrical failures while their owners were away. In one the anchor winch deck switch leaked sea water which shorted the switch which pulled the anchor up (which caused the boat to drift onto the rocks) which then jammed in the rollers which caused the anchor winch motor to overheat which started the fire which destroyed the boat - stranding the cruising owners in Panama with nothing.

I have separate switches for start batteries (2) and house batteries (2). Both are turned off. Critical circuits for the bilge pump, anchor light, VHF radio, etc. are on a separate panel, each with their own fuse (or auto-resetting circuit breaker in the case of the bilge pump) bypassing the house battery selector switch.

I also turn off the propane and close all through hulls (only 2) when leaving the boat - even for a short time (I once left the boat to do a bit of shopping and was gone for two days. You just never know). Exercising the sea cocks regularly this way is one way of keeping them free so you know you can close them if you really need to - and you don't forget where they are or bury them in stuff.

Bill Robinson, S/V Scorpius, Lund, BC
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Old 30-06-2016, 09:52   #20
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

I turn mine off, bilge pump wired hot to batteries with selector switch and fused....
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Old 30-06-2016, 10:35   #21
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

If at anchor, yes I keep it on just in case it comes adrift etc and someone is able to reanchor it. Whilst this has never happened to me, I with 2 others, went to try and secure a dragging yacht, the power was off and we had to call the rescue services before it damaged other yachts. If in a marina, yes, everything is turned off.
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Old 30-06-2016, 10:44   #22
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

You don't want to sink at the dock due to some small leak that can be handled by bilge pumps. Shore power on and connected to charger, house battery switched on for charging and power to main DC panel, 2 auto bilge pump circuits with circuit breakers on, all non-essential circuits off including start battery and AC sub-circuits.
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Old 30-06-2016, 11:32   #23
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
Turn off the power, That's crazy!!!! The beer will get warm!
This is a reason I don't, I need the fridge running, the only thing wired direct I know of is my bilge pump.
But then define "leave the boat", usually for me that means leave it in its slip connected to shorepower, then I leave the battery charger on, the fridge and during Summer, the AC running in dehumidify mode, and in Winter the dehumidifier running so of course the battery switch is left on to keep the batteries in float.

I think of the combiner switch as just that, a way to select banks and a way to completely disconnect power in the event of a suspected or known electrical fire, I can't come up with a reason other than fire to disconnect the batteries from the bus.
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Old 30-06-2016, 11:44   #24
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

How is your bilge pump wired? Mine is wired to 12 v panel, so I keep master switch ON and just turn off all breakers except the bilge pump and fridge (if running the fridge).
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Old 30-06-2016, 11:53   #25
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

Some boaters are so frekin paranoid.
stop blowing smoke up my rear, blow it at the sails instead
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Old 30-06-2016, 12:34   #26
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

I was about to pontificate that a boat fire in the marina are more likely sourced from the AC shore power line (many more failure points for high-amp circuits). I have a serious distrust of the twist-lock 30-amp cords, which we have all seen scorched. In preparing my remarks, I googled and found this excellent Seaworthy article on the likelihood of fires which indicates that DC is twice as likely to cause boat fires than AC (go figure): Boat Fires - Seaworthy Magazine - BoatUS
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Old 30-06-2016, 12:36   #27
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

In the marina I leave shore-power and battery charger on. Battery switch off (Blue-Sea, start and house). I have a hot battery bus direct wired to the house batteries with a few items all separately fused through a conventional fuse block (Blue Sea).
Those items are a small capacity bilge sump pump, the main bilge pump (both on automatic switches with solid-state bilge water detectors), a conventional float actuated bilge high-water alarm (really loud), chart table light, engine compartment light, security system and radio/stereo memory (so presets won’t be wiped out every time you turn the battery switch off).
The bilge sump pump and the main bilge bump are dual-wired through the main DC electrical panel (Blue Sea) so they are only powered by the hot battery bus when the battery switch is off but can be actuated by their individual switches on the main DC panel.
Works good, lasts a long time.
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Old 30-06-2016, 13:14   #28
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

My charging systems probably make my situation different.

I have a solar array, a wind gen and three alternators. The passive sources are wired directly to the house bank via controllers that prevent overcharging. One alternator (80A) is mounted on the engine and is dedicated to the emergency batteries and includes the windlass battery in the anchor locker. The two other alternators (120A each) are mounted on a frame in front of the engine with individually switched fields for selective charging.

So with that as a background, when my boat is not in use (on its mooring) the main switch goes off along with everything on the boat. The passives keep the batteries fat and the emergency bank is always fully charged. When we're using the boat everything necessary is switched on.

I figure that there is a far better chance of developing an electrical leak than a water leak. In addition, I believe that the singular most unreliable piece of marine equipment ever made is a bilge pump float switch and without one of those, wiring the bilge pump direct is not possible. Why on earth would I want a known piece of junk left in charge of my battery bank?

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Old 01-07-2016, 09:35   #29
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Re: Do you turn your battery selector off or keep it on when leaving the boat?

I should have stated that I do not like 1-2-All switches and will always remove them and put in separate on-off switches for the house and start batteries with one separate switch to parallel the two. It gives me some more peace of mind that I know exactly what is set for what. A 1-2-All should do the same but switches do fail at times.

I always, always, always turn off the start switch when at dock or on the hook. I will turn it on if I think I might have to raise anchor in a hurry, e.g. big winds expected, other safety issues like dragging boats nearby, poor holding, etc. I think you need to assume something may happen and manage the risks from every angle.

My house side is completely fused or has circuit breakers on every single wire and with smaller fuses whenever a circuit goes from a big fuse/big wire to smaller ones. The other thing that gives me more peace of mind is to go around and check all terminals/cables/wires to make sure they are tight and in good condition (both positive and negative sides). I do this more often for the bigger cables. The alternator and starter get special attention since they have big wires in a vibrating environment. I have rewired a couple of boats which burnt up all they engine wiring from loose connections to the engines. Luckily they did not burn up their boats.

I will always, always, always turn off my windlass after anchoring and after raising the anchor. That will prevent a big problem for the large current device that is in a harsh wet environment. I can keep the house switch on (if I want) even though the windlass is isolated.

I turn off my propane solenoid switch after shutting down the stove. I will turn off the propane at the tank whenever I don't need to use propane for any length of time.

AC systems are the most common source of marina firs to my knowledge. Certainly the big majority in our marinas in town (we have many hundreds of boats here) have been from AC systems. The shore power cord/dock pedestal is a cause of some of them. It is a very poor system so I inspect my SP cord often and make sure it feels snug in the pedestal and on my boat. If it is loose at the pedestal I won't use it. My marina is super safety minded and will replace any plugs if bad immediately. Marinas I travel too are a different matter so I always check them carefully for a good solid connection, correct voltage, polarity, etc.

In other words, safety from electrical fires involves far more than just whether you turn off the house switch or not. They can happen when you are sailing or motoring just as easy as when you are in a marina. If anchoring you have to keep at least one battery on for anchor lights (unless you have a reliable and properly displayed solar or battery light). And bilge pumps should always be on in any situation. On my boat anyway.

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