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Double Pole or Not

Does Your Shore Power System Meet ABYC Standards?

Question– I just bought a new to me cruising sailboat and I have a question regarding the shore power system. In the lazarette lock on the port side of my cockpit are two circuit breaker switch panels, both marked “120 V 30 A Master Breaker”. Both of these switches have a single toggle style handle as shown in the photo I sent in. I have been under the impression that ABYC Standards dictate that shore power main circuit breakers be of the double pole variety, effectively opening both the hot and neutral conductors simultaneously in the even of a fault or overload. Am I missing something here?

Answer– Well no, you are correct and not missing anything except double pole circuit breakers it appears. I had to double-check myself to see if anyone offers a double pole breaker with a single toggle as you show. I couldn’t find one. So, with that said, it appears that you new boat is not wired according to ABYC Standards. This is something that should be corrected ASAP. I’m surprised that this wasn’t picked up by whoever surveyed your boat (assuming you had a survey) didn’t mention this as part of the pre-purchase survey.

Correction-  I  just heard from Colin up at Bass Products, a top end panel board maker. He informs me that both Carling switch and Airpax, the two primary makers of marine  circuit breakers in our industry have made single toggle double pole breakers, at least in the past.

I can’t find any in my current catalog selection, but, I stand corrected, the right answer above is maybe…..You’ll need to remove the four panel screws and pull the breaker down and inspect it ( or you may be able to just look behind it with a mirror) and actually check to see if these guys are actually double pole or not. Its worth confirming one way or the other. Single pole units will pose a potential safety hazard. Thanks for the note Colin!

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