Engine Wiring: Cable Ties
Question: I’ve noticed recently that the wiring harnesses in my engine room are starting to droop down and hang pretty close to my engines and other machinery. I’ve also noticed that the harnesses and cabling were originally secured in place by the boatbuilder with nylon tie-wraps. These are now breaking, allowing the drooping cables. Is there a better way to handle this situation?
Answer: You bet there is a better way. In fact the ABYC recommends that nylon tie-wraps not be used for this purpose over engines and other machinery for the very reason you are experiencing, but we still see boat builders ignoring this fundamental rule. The heat in engine rooms causes the nylon tie-wraps to become quite brittle over time and eventually do just what yours are doing—break.
In areas on your boat where wires run over hot, moving machinery, the ABYTC recommends the use of metal clips to secure cable runs. The photo shows an example of what are known as “P” clips with rubber insulators. Those shown are made of stainless steel and are the best choice. I’ve also seen them in mild steel and aluminum; the mild steel clips get rusty in short order and the aluminum clips will eventually corrode through and fail. Go with the stainless clips. They will last virtually forever.
Editor’s Note: For more wiring tips, read other posts on wiring a boat safely.