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Thread: Stainless Panel required on a Salt water boat dock

  1. #1
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    Stainless Panel required on a Salt water boat dock

    Hi

    We have a concrete fixed pier which has several boat docks attached over a salt water Bay. We've installed a standard watertight panel with branches to each dock, water tight fixtures, etc. The panel is more than 30 inches above high water level. The inspector (as AHJ) is requiring a Stainless enclosure around the panel to protect from salt water in the air, saying the panel will rust in under 2 years and is not appropriate for the location.

    Has anyone else heard of this being required? Thank you for the advice.

  2. #2
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    Probably good advice.

    Looking at the service from a vacation home that was built about 4-5 years ago on the beach has a regular 3R enclosure that has disintegrated.

  3. #3
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    If this is a requirement, how did it get through plan review?

    I've installed and see installed SQ D I-line panels with the marine paint option. It's an epoxy paint that does a pretty good job of keeping the panels from rusting.

    I am not aware of an NEC requirement for this to be SS, but I do agree it is a good idea. I wonder if the AHJ would accept a professional coating on the panel?

    How big of a panel are we talking about?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by KMR View Post
    Hi

    We have a concrete fixed pier which has several boat docks attached over a salt water Bay. We've installed a standard watertight panel with branches to each dock, water tight fixtures, etc. The panel is more than 30 inches above high water level. The inspector (as AHJ) is requiring a Stainless enclosure around the panel to protect from salt water in the air, saying the panel will rust in under 2 years and is not appropriate for the location.

    Has anyone else heard of this being required? Thank you for the advice.
    It certainly isn't explicit in the NEC. He may be within his rights to require the additional protection under the "suitable for the intended use" principal. It would be better if the local jurisdiction codified that requirement, however. You may have to start investigating the wonderful (and very expensive) world of Hoffman enclosures.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by gadfly56 View Post
    It certainly isn't explicit in the NEC. He may be within his rights to require the additional protection under the "suitable for the intended use" principal. It would be better if the local jurisdiction codified that requirement, however. You may have to start investigating the wonderful (and very expensive) world of Hoffman enclosures.
    I believe it is explicit enough in Sections 110.11 and 300.6. The NEC is NOT a design manual for the inexperienced [Section 90.1(the very first NEC rule)]

    I was on the Working Committee for IEEE P1713, Recommended Practice for Electrical Shore-to-Ship Connections. There are quite a few conditions that should be considered for marine installations.
    "Bob"
    Robert B. Alexander, P.E.
    Answers based on 2014 NEC unless otherwise noted.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbalex View Post
    ....The NEC is NOT a design manual for the inexperienced [Section 90.1(the very first NEC rule)
    (Sigh) If only that were true today.
    Once in a while you get shown the light
    In the strangest of places if you look at it right. Robert Hunter

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by KMR View Post
    Hi

    We have a concrete fixed pier which has several boat docks attached over a salt water Bay. We've installed a standard watertight panel with branches to each dock, water tight fixtures, etc. The panel is more than 30 inches above high water level. The inspector (as AHJ) is requiring a Stainless enclosure around the panel to protect from salt water in the air, saying the panel will rust in under 2 years and is not appropriate for the location.

    Has anyone else heard of this being required? Thank you for the advice.
    He is right in that you need to protect from corrosion, he is wrong in that stainless is the only option unless there is some local requirement. PVC or fiberglass enclosures certainly won't rust out.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by KMR View Post
    Hi

    We have a concrete fixed pier which has several boat docks attached over a salt water Bay. We've installed a standard watertight panel with branches to each dock, water tight fixtures, etc. The panel is more than 30 inches above high water level. The inspector (as AHJ) is requiring a Stainless enclosure around the panel to protect from salt water in the air, saying the panel will rust in under 2 years and is not appropriate for the location.

    Has anyone else heard of this being required? Thank you for the advice.
    NEC required or not, it's an exceptionally good idea. Anything that's not 316 stainless or non-metallic will ROT in the weather in a marine environment. Quickly. I'm dealing with this right now: a fellow subcontractor did not properly weatherproof some of their equipment for use in a marine environment. It stopped working electrically, and started showing rust within two weeks of installation. Our (properly weatherproofed) gear, in 316SS and fiberglass enclosures, is working fine.

    Salt air and spray will very shortly destroy non-rated equipment. 3R isn't gonna cut it.


    SceneryDriver

  9. #9
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    Jul 2017
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    Clearwater, Florida, USA
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    Thank you

    Dear All, Thank you for weighing in on the problem. The advice to Marine Coat it or use some other kind of panel is good. I will check if the AHJ actually does have a local code requirement too.
    Kind regards, KMR

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SceneryDriver View Post
    NEC required or not, it's an exceptionally good idea. Anything that's not 316 stainless or non-metallic will ROT in the weather in a marine environment. Quickly. I'm dealing with this right now: a fellow subcontractor did not properly weatherproof some of their equipment for use in a marine environment. It stopped working electrically, and started showing rust within two weeks of installation. Our (properly weatherproofed) gear, in 316SS and fiberglass enclosures, is working fine.

    Salt air and spray will very shortly destroy non-rated equipment. 3R isn't gonna cut it.
    my experience has been, that hot dipped galvanized steel is pretty
    resistant to salt spray corrosion. honestly, better that 316. that info
    was given to me by an old shipbuilder, who did restoration work on old
    sailboats. he had to change out a couple hot dipped gal nails in the hull,
    and they'd been in salt water for about 80 years at that point.

    if there is anywhere the coating is broken, it's gonna rust in a week. toast in two years.

    i put some 3R panels near the water 4 years ago. as in within 30' of the salty pacific.
    if i get a chance, i'll stop by and take some photos. i'm over in that area tomorrow afternoon.
    ~New signature under construction.~
    ~~~~Please excuse the mess.~~~~

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