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Electrics - new circuits


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I know that gas work on boats has to be undertaken by qualified personnel but what is the case re electrical work (installing new circuits etc). Can anyone do it provided they have the work checked over and certified, or must a proper electrician be involved from the start? This is a question raised by a mate of mine who wants to do some electrical stuff prior to selling the boat. I think he would prefer just doing it himself and leaving it at that

Many thanks

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When I bought my first cruiser with extensive "domestics" , about 15 years ago, the surveyor's report indicated that quite a bit of remedial work was required on the Gas and Electrics.

I asked a friend at a boatyard a similar question then, and he said "how would anyone know who had done the work anyway ?"

It's an undeniable fact that many DIY'ers (home or boat) can't bang a nail in straight, and I've seen many instances of incredibly dangerous lash-ups, with complete ignorance of safety regulations and standards, such as unfused circuits, or just inept handiwork, such as very poorly terminated wiring.

But there's also a great many no-professional people who can accomplish highly proficient work, because they learn how to do the job properly and can spend longer than a Pro and be more precise, because they can take unlimited time to achieve a more perfect result.

Each time I change my boat, I usually get quite a bit of provenance, including many receipts for work carried out by professionals. The standard is often (but not always) appalling. I find that previous owners have paid hundreds or sometimes thousands of pounds on Gas, Electric, and engine work that was very poorly carried out, and sometimes not at all.

The majority of boat owners nowadays seem to leave most of the "complicated stuff" to professionals, just like car maintenance or house repairs. The degree to which they are being ripped off is very depressing. If I've now annoyed the genuinely conscientious professionals, I apologise, but you probably know more than most how many cowboys there are around, as you must encounter their bodges all the time..

Whether to do anything yourself boils down to how proficient you are, (and not how proficient you think you are).

When I bought my first house many decades I ago, I was fortunate to have a Brother who was an electrician and an Uncle who was a plumber. They taught me the correct way to do the work, and I've completely replaced the wiring and plumbing in every house I've owned since, because what existed was very poorly done.

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The answer to your actual question you ask is no, you don't. However Strowager's points are very valid. There are now specific qualifications from the BMF electric and electronics section (BMEA) they have recently joined forces with the NMEA original organisation. They have a code of practice and training programme which runs into hundreds of pages and should work done by one of these individuals fall outside the expected level you at least have a body that has certified them to complain to. One important note though. Do not bugger about with AC supply on your boat now matter how good a DIY’er you may be without having it checked by a certified individual before use. Even very low voltage cabling incorrectly executed on a sea going boat can have a very detrimental effect on critical systems so caution is needed when selecting somebody to do work intended for the marine environment.

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I quite agree with the danger of AC, and the need for it to be done correctly. No prisoners with 240v 15 amps.

It makes it all the galling though, when I bought my current boat, it had a rather swish factory fitted original equipment AC system, with remotely controlled electronic breakers etc.

Lovely stuff, but the Moron that fitted it had cut the sheath of the mains flex with a knife at the butt, exposing all three copper cores. This was on every termination, so the "electrician" had never been taught the basics of how to strip back to the butt, rather than cut direct. Luckily there was sufficient slack loop for me to re-terminate correctly, without having to re-run new cables.

To think that the original buyer had paid a great deal of money for a new boat, and had bare 240v cores tucked away in every mains connection box. :shock:

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Lovely stuff, but the Moron that fitted it had cut the sheath of the mains flex with a knife at the butt, exposing all three copper cores. This was on every termination, so the "electrician" had never been taught the basics of how to strip back to the butt, rather than cut direct. Luckily there was sufficient slack loop for me to re-terminate correctly, without having to re-run new cables.

:shock:

What a shocking story! (So sorry, that wasn't an intentional one :naughty::naughty::naughty: ).

When we bought Friday Girl a year ago I installed several new 240V sockets and wired in the immersion heater. I then had a friend who is a qualified electrician run a check on it and he passed it all as safe and, if anything, over-engineered!

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