It is important to use shore cords approved for marine applications. Unapproved cords are dangerous and should not be used. Also inspect for any damage to the cable and replace if necessary.
Sometimes, cords strung between dock sections can be pinched by the hinges or end up hanging in the water. Extra cable, if not coiled properly, can be hazardous to boaters walking on the docks.
To reduce dock clutter, I like to tie my shore cord under the dock out of sight. The major safety benefit is that it’s not on the dock surface lurking for someone to step on it and roll out from under their foot or shoe.
We’ve seen people when docking, jump off their boat and step onto a shore cord. The shore cord rolls out from under their foot resulting in a serious fall. A shore cord on the surface is like stepping on a roller skate—it rolls out from underneath you.
For the majority of the summer, most boaters just take short jaunts of a few hours here and a few hours there away from the home marina; and for this period of time, there is no need to take your shore cord. Just unplug the shore end, then the boat end and go. Then, when you return from your outing, plug in the boat end first, then the shore end.
Most finger docks are high enough above the water and with enough framework that you can suspend your shore cord under the finger dock from a series of short pieces of light line. You can use light poly or light nylon, metal “S” hooks, bent coat hangers, shrink wrap cord, bungie cords, long wire ties—whatever works for you. Be sure the cord does not hang in the water. The only time it really needs to be removed is when you’re going on a long trip or for the winter. It’s neater and safer to secure it off the dock surface.
Loop the extra cord around the outlet post. If you find your cord is being disconnected by kids or other boaters, use a bungie cord or two to hold it into the outlet and discourage them. It gives the message, that it is to stay plugged in.
Support Your Cord
At the boat end, the weight of the cable should be supported and not hanging totally on the fitting. You can loop the cord through one of the rails, so the cable’s weight is supported by the rail or use a light piece of line to support the weight.
Larger yachts that run with two shore cords use various methods to reduce the clutter. Some boaters will join the two cables with intervals of either electrical tape or duct tape or nylon zip ties/wire wraps. I have even seen a long black nylon tube holding the 2 together that runs the full 50’.
Hidden shore cords are neater and less dangerous.