Coast Guard warns about on-board surge protectors

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The Coast Guard issued a non-mandatory safety alert on the eve of another boating season in the northern United States about the use of surge protectors aboard a boat.

“Most commercially available surge protective devices are designed for use ashore and will interrupt only the hot conductor when a surge occurs. What does that mean for the ship owner/operator? It means that while these devices may provide protection in our homes and offices, these same devices may be a fire risk on board vessels,” the safety alert, which was issued Monday, said.

The alert then details a marine casualty investigation of two separate stateroom fires aboard a U.S.-flagged container ship that attributed the fires to the use of surge protective devices plugged into a lighting circuit.

The Coast Guard recommends that vessel owners, operators, class society surveyors, insurers and other inspection personnel examine the risks associated with the use of surge protective devices aboard vessels and, if necessary, ensure that their organizations have policies and procedures related to their use.

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