Non marine approved Surge Protectors

Ref. 2013 USCG Marine Safety advisory’s 3 13

This came to my attention recently. After 2 small incidents on board company vessels. One in a office the other in crew accommodation.

The use of surge protection is now commonplace for all kinds of electronic devices particularly personal devices. The CE brought it to my attention after discovering a failed non marine surge protector on board. We found several others on board brought by crew who were unaware of the issue. I was not aware either.

Most store bought surge protectors are not designed for use with the 3 phase electrically supply for on board generators and may fail causing a fire. Explaining this 3 phase thing is beyond my deck comprehension but I take the chiefs word.

Just thought it was worth mentioning.

Also without any information, purely idle speculation,
Could this be just as plausible a possibility as lithium batteries as an unknown cause if a recent small passenger vessel fire

More here…

Dead link. Here’s the present location of the current version:

Can’t hurt to re-up the old thread.

The problem has to do with the type of transformers used to step down to 120vac, not that the ship generates 3 phase power. On many (but not all) ships both sides of the 120vac receptacle are hot to ground. With no neutral side a non marine surge protector can be a fire hazard.

So essentially the protection afforded by the polarized plug where one prong of the plug is wider is lost when used shipboard?

That is correct.


I wonder if they ever came out with a restriction on retractable electrical cords on reels?
Real fire hazards. I mentioned this once to an inspector and he was going to get back with me but never did.

On our ship you specifically CANNOT use surge protectors because of some issue with the ground (whatever the Chief says).

So instead we have power strips. Can still plug 6 things into one outlet, but without the surge protection, and they work like a champ.

on this topic, has anyone found a good quality 240V surge protector (not power strip) and willing to share where you found it?