How To Prevent Electrical Boat Fires From Happening

Outdated shore power plugs and inlets are prone to salt, corrosion, and moisture. All these factors can contribute to arcing, which damages the contacts and eventually leads to increased resistance and heat accumulation.

This is especially important when you realize that the typical shore power cord relies on the combination of twist-lock plug blades and a locking-ring mechanism. This constant twisting motion predisposes the cord to excessive heating.

But what about loose connections? It’s a factor some boat owners don’t give too much thought to. Yet, it’s a major cause of electrical boat fires.


Antiquated Technology: Oftentimes it’s difficult for boat owners to securely connect the cords due to the tedious, twist-lock design functionality. Having a plug that doesn’t plug straight typically doesn’t create a tight enough connection.

Corrosion: Another contributing factor to electrical boat fires is corrosion. Sometimes shore power cords accidentally end up in the water or get sprayed by the salt water. You’re dealing with salt water and when it dries out you’re left with salt crystals which leads to corrosion in both the inlets and the outlets. Friction starts in the electrical circuit, and with it comes resistance.

Resistance: The real danger occurs when these scenarios continue to happen over time. Increased resistance generates more and more heat. Left unchecked, the heat builds up until the outlet smolders and bursts into flames.

These scenarios happen all the time, but they can be prevented.

So, How Do You Prevent Electrical Boat Fires Before They Happen?

As you’ve learned so far, you want all your connections clean and tight, making the resistance negligible and allowing for current to pass through easily. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to achieve this if you use an antiquated twist-lock shore power cord.

This is why we recommend SmartPlug as THE shore power system for the boat’s AC inlet.

Its foolproof design helps boat owners stay protected from the possibility of an electrical fire.  

SmartPlug addresses loose connections with our unique sleeve design and prevents corrosion with the use of waterproof seals — significantly decreasing the chances of a fire outbreak on your boat’s AC inlet and consequent wiring.

Below, we share a few testimonials about how SmartPlug marine products are revolutionizing the shore power industry, keeping boaters safer than before.

“By locking the shore-power cord securely, SmartPlug creates a much tighter connection between the shore power cord and the boat’s AC inlet.  I hope these locking plugs will become the new standard for bringing AC electricity aboard recreational boats. It’s a solution that is long overdue.” – Bob Adriance, Technical Director at BoatUS Marine Insurance (Rtd)

“It’s commonly known that the current “twist lock” method of shore power cords can result in a fire hazard if not properly maintained which impacts Underwriters’ profit/loss margin more than any other type of claim.

The design and benefits of the Smart Plug show that the risk of fire is substantially reduced which is a huge win for Underwriters so offering a discount for its installation and use certainly benefit everyone.” – Sean Thompson, president of Dolphin Insurance

Conclusion: If you’re serious about securing your boat against electrical fires consider upgrading to SmartPlug technology. Or, if you’re an insurance underwriter, tell your customers about SmartPlug! View our lineup of Marine products here to discover more about why boating enthusiasts (and insurance underwriters too!) have trusted SmartPlug to protect them from significant loss due to electrical boat fires over the last fifteen years.