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*Note – Final Version of NEC 2017 can be found here.

Of greatest concern to marina owners with the release of NEC 2017, was the section commonly referred to as Article 555 Marinas, Boatyards, and Commercial and Noncommercial Docking Facilities. The National Electric Code (NEC) 2017 Update will make compliance easier for marina owners.

In the original release, the installation of ground fault circuit interrupt (GFCI) equipment was mandated to have a 30 mA ground fault protection (reduced from 100 mA), on all devices in a facility, including the main service. Industry representatives argued that this would set off an unacceptable number of circuit trips due to the accumulated leakage across the entire marina, dock or boatyard.

In a study published by the Fire Protection Research Foundation, Assessment of Hazardous Voltage/Current in Marinas, Boatyards and Floating Buildings, researchers found that the original report titled USCG FY2006 Grant In Water Shock Hazard Mitigation Strategies released in 2008, did not fully research incidents involving the main marina feeder. The accidents documented were due to the marina wiring itself, and that there was not sufficient evidence to recommend lowering protection on the main marina feeder, instead citing the need for further study before an appropriate level of protection could be recommended.

It was then determined that this was not the original intent of Section 555.3. Instead, the intent is to require 30 mA ground-fault protection at each supply point in the marina. This may be achieved through 30 mA protection at pedestals or branch circuits.

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