Electrical Panel Covers: Avoid a Shocking Experience
Covering your electrical panel is not only a great idea—it’s now required by the ABYC if the panel combines AC and DC circuitry.
Question: Recently I was visiting a friend on his new boat and he was showing off his electrical system installation. One of the things I noticed on the back of his electrical panel board was that all of the shore power electrical switches and circuit breakers were behind a really cool looking plexiglass cover. Where can I get one of these boxes for my boat? Is this a requirement to meet industry standards? My boat does not have this cover and everything on my panel is exposed.
Answer: Great question. ABYC electrical standards now requires this cover on panels that combine AC and DC circuitry on the same panel. This is to protect you from an accidentally shocking experience when you open up your electrical panel.
This cover was probably made by the boatbuilder from clear plexiglass. You could make your own with a heat gun and a flat piece of clear Lexan or plexiglass that is 1/8” thick and cut to the right size. That’s how a lot of the builders comply.
If you aren’t feeling particularly handy, our friends at Blue Sea Systems have five pre-molded covers available in their catalog (part numbers 4026-4031). These ABS covers are available from any top-end marine electrical distributor that carries Blue Sea products.
- Ed Sherman is a regular contributor to boats.com, as well as to Professional Boatbuilder and Cruising World, where he previously was electronics editor. He also is the curriculum director for the American Boat and Yacht Council. Previously, Ed was chairman of the Marine Technology Department at the New England Institute of Technology. Ed’s blog posts appear courtesy of his website, EdsBoatTips.
Tags: ABYC, Ed Sherman, electrical panel, Safety and Seamanship