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Old 31-12-2008, 15:09   #1
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getting electrocuted on the boat

Its very windy today and I am getting shocked ALOT. Everytime I touch something. I haven't been onboard when its been this windy (30-40 gusts) and I wasn't getting shocked yesterday so I'm guessing the wind is making static in the rigging. If I'm getting shocked this much, does it mean my boat isn't properly grounded?
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Old 31-12-2008, 15:25   #2
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you have a serious problem that has nothing to do with wind. You need to shut down all of your electrical systems and start troubleshooting from you batteries to your electrical panel and your AC from the shore power inlets on if you are plugged into shore power.
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Old 31-12-2008, 19:21   #3
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Are you plugged in to shore power? Do you have an inverter running? If the answer to either of these is "yes", then do read Chuck's reply and take this seriously.

If there is no way that the shocks are coming from a high-voltage AC source, then it could be simple static electricity. Your boat probably doesn't have nylon shag carpet, but if the humidity is very low even shuffling across the gelcoat could generate a static charge. Is the shock a quick snap (static), or a continuous buzz (dangerous)?
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Old 01-01-2009, 00:43   #4
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Check your shore power cord.....in windy bunpy conditions a lot of shore power cord work loose....I have already gotten two calls for fried shorepowers tonite.
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Old 01-01-2009, 05:56   #5
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As others have said you need to disconnect all high voltage supplies and sort out the problem. Water and AC can be a deadly combination.
One simple possibility however is a wind generator (if you have one ) some can produce enough volts to give you a shock if the wiring is defective and they will only do this at high wind speeds.
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Old 01-01-2009, 12:38   #6
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Hi all and thanks for the replies. Today is a new day and the wind is gone and so are the shocks. Not once today but well over 100 times yesterday. Its was definately static shocks but I could touch something, BAM, turn around take two steps and touch something else, BAM! I shocked my dog a couple dozen times. A sailboat that acts strange in wind. I could run in to issues with that, huh?
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Old 01-01-2009, 13:06   #7
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My shore power cord adapter plug was sitting in snow on dock,not a good idea.Noticed just in time today, hotwire was corroding and overheating,almost melted.Cleaned best I could,sealed it in plastic ,but looks like I need to replace cord and adapter asap.
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Old 01-01-2009, 15:23   #8
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Hi all and thanks for the replies. Today is a new day and the wind is gone and so are the shocks. Not once today but well over 100 times yesterday. Its was definately static shocks but I could touch something, BAM, turn around take two steps and touch something else, BAM! I shocked my dog a couple dozen times. A sailboat that acts strange in wind. I could run in to issues with that, huh?
If you are correct, and it really is static, it means your rig is completely insulated from electrical contact with the water. That would be a difficult thing to achive if you really wanted to!

For the purposes of protection from BIG static (i.e., Lightening) your rig really should be grounded effectively to the surrounding water.

Bill
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Old 01-01-2009, 23:59   #9
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If you are correct, and it really is static, it means your rig is completely insulated from electrical contact with the water. That would be a difficult thing to achive if you really wanted to!

For the purposes of protection from BIG static (i.e., Lightening) your rig really should be grounded effectively to the surrounding water.

Bill
Yes. it could be that the rigging is insulated and building up a charge, and a grounded Aquaholic is providing the discharge path.

My guess though is that Aquaholic is the completely insulated one, and his rigging is grounded as usual. Consider what happens on a low-humidity day when you shuffle across a carpet. You are building up a charge on your (insulated) body, across your body's capacitance to ground. You get the shock when you touch something grounded.

And for static electricity, it doesn't even need to be DC-grounded, since the stray capacitance to ground is sufficient for the brief current flow. But a grounded object (such as a boat's rigging) will definitely do the trick.
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Old 02-01-2009, 04:09   #10
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As Paul suggests, Aquaholic is very likely becoming the Positively charged object (giving up electrons to the wind), and his rigging is naturally Negatively charged. When he touches the rigging this charge equalizes - ZAP.

Neither the person, nor the rig, have to be grounded for this discharge to occur.

Human skin & hair are very positive on the tribolelectric series, whereas steel is negative.*

* Various materials have a tendency of either giving up electrons and becoming positive (+) in charge or attracting electrons and becoming negative (−) in charge. The Triboelectric Series is a list of materials, showing the relative tendency to become charged.
Goto:
Triboelectric Series: Positive- and Negative-charging Materials
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Old 02-01-2009, 08:17   #11
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Yes. it could be that the rigging is insulated and building up a charge, and a grounded Aquaholic is providing the discharge path.

My guess though is that Aquaholic is the completely insulated one, and his rigging is grounded as usual. Consider what happens on a low-humidity day when you shuffle across a carpet. You are building up a charge on your (insulated) body, across your body's capacitance to ground. You get the shock when you touch something grounded.

And for static electricity, it doesn't even need to be DC-grounded, since the stray capacitance to ground is sufficient for the brief current flow. But a grounded object (such as a boat's rigging) will definitely do the trick.
OK, I'll buy that, but why did it only happen on a very windy day? Zero shocks yesterday or today.
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Old 02-01-2009, 08:57   #12
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Things traveling throught the air, like helicopters, blimps, and airplanes, do build up static charges, sometimes very large ones relative to "ground". If your rig is insulated, then when the wind blows it "thinks" it is moving through the air.

This even happens with automobiles. If the tires are not conductive enough, the steel frame can build up a large charge which you feel when you get out of the car and connect to ground. It is frequently blamed on the rolling tires, but it comes from the air movement in addition to/instead of just the tires.

I'm still more than a bit surprised that your rig could possibly be this well insulated from the water, but it fits the facts as you have presented them.
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Old 02-01-2009, 10:13   #13
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Had the same experience on my boat in southern Chile about a year ago.

On several low humidity, high wind days the static shocks were frequent and strong when touching the rigging.
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