MarineSail makes good points on the GI issue. Most will never know that their galvanic isolator
has failed. When I first started working on boats, I installed lots of the first generation simple ones. I didn't think they were major expensive but they weren't free either. And it took from 2-4 hours to install them sometimes when access was difficult. Easy to wire but doing it was a trick sometimes. I talked most owners in to installing them when it came up. Not because I needed the work. I was 100% busy all the time. It was for their safety
and protection of their asset.
Now the GI frigging things are major expensive. The standards changed, requiring failsafe design and self monitoring and status lights. But they did this for a good reason. You do want a working ground on your boat. You also do not want to be sending stray AC current
out in the water around your boat (your diver would not like that), and you don't want it to eat up your zincs.
Regarding people having their own ABYC manuals
, you can get an individual membership for much less, and you can buy the manuals
. Nigel Calder's first book was good, the second one not so good. And he does not even begin to address the ABYC standards at the time of publication much less keep up with them. The biggest problem is reading and understanding them though. They are flat out difficult for a lay person to read. Part of it is the strict formatting and paragraphing, but also the should and should nots, and the dependings on, etc. Not to mention just the technical nature of the beast.
Many cannot read a circuit diagram and understand what is saying, especially the many variations of AC circuits to cover all the possibilities of systems and devices. You have to understand the little symbols, be able to follow the lines, and more importantly understand the sometimes subtle differences between one diagram and the other. But first you have to understand which diagram applies to you and that is not simple for most, as in 95%, of lay people to understand. Not to mention that some "professionals" are challenged by them.
If you do understand them they are invaluable as to knowing what the recommended system should be. Other sections of the documents are easy to understand and to apply. Some of them you will never need to know unless you are building a boat or don't have a metal boat, etc. Some of them specially exempt boats of certain ages, and some require it of all boats.
They were not developed for lay people. They were not purposely developed so lay people could not understand them either. But that is the reason why writers like Nigel Calder have been so helpful in presenting the most important tidbits in lay-like language. But I have to tell you that the first time I read some of the sections in his books
, I walked away not having a clue what he just said. It made sense the more times I read it and worked with it, but some of it I have put in the DNK category in my brain.
I add this not to try to lead anyone in any particular direction as far as the ABYC standards except that I think they are one of the most important and most useful things I have seen to improve the safety
in general. They are not easy to use though. I have old copies but I don't think I am going to go out and buy new ones to work on my new/old boat. The old standards really set the bar pretty high already. The new ones higher still but I have to limit what I can or cannot pull off on my boat - time and money being the big drivers. I personally take ownership
of the safety of my boat and I will follow 90% of the new standards, but a step at a time and hope that the one thing I don't do won't be a problem. I do prioritize the items though and I do the heavy-hitters safety/risk wise first.