The marine environment requires more robust wires than those for land use.
Vibrations, from the ships’ engines and the rocking motion from the waves, mean the wires need to be more resistant to wear and tear. The high salt content of the water increases the risk of corrosion, which reduces the cross-sectional area of the conductor and increases the resistance to current flow. The wires must also withstand the temperatures at sea.
As such, procuring shipboard cables require stringent requirements to ensure that your watercraft is properly equipped with the right electrical installations.
Size, Strands and Coating
Cables used for marine vessels should be multi-stranded, tinned and protected by marine-rated insulation.
- Strands. Multiple strands give the wires greater flexibility, which enables them to withstand the vibrations better than the solid core cables. The wires, ideally, are flame-retardant with a high bending radius.
- Copper Wires. Marine wiring applications need stranded copper wires with a tin coating. Copper is an ideal conductor because of its low resistance to current flow. Marine cables contain more copper than automotive counterparts with the same AWG units, giving them a better current carrying capacity.
- Tin Coating. The tin coating has longevity and anti-corrosion features that can’t be provided by non-tinned counterparts. They conduct electricity with less oxidation compared to the bare copper wires.
- Insulation. PVC insulation provides the last layer of protection against natural elements, abrasion and fluids, like lubricating oils, petrol, diesel and diluted acids.
- Size. In many cases, AWG-size cables are better suited to marine applications compared to SAE-rated wires. The latter can be up to 12 per cent smaller than AWG cables. If you purchase SAE wires, you may have to use a larger gauge wire to stay within the voltage drop limits.
- Crimp Connectors. Apart from features that withstand a marine environment, wires also need a crimp connector with integral heat shrink tubing, which resists boat vibrations. If flimsy, the crimp connector breaks due to vibrations and expose the wire ends to moisture, introducing corrosion to the length of the wire.
Investing in marine-grade cables affords the ship with improved efficiency, a higher level of safety and reduced costs on wire repair and replacements.
Choose a Reliable Ship Cable Supplier
To procure the highest quality marine cables and advice from cable professionals, work with cable suppliers in Singapore that understand the shipping industry and the standards used by shipyards in Asia Pacific.
Cable Source, for example, complies with the:
- British Standard (BS)
- International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
- Verband der Elektrotechnik (VDE)
- Conformité Européene (CE) Mark
Our shipboard wires are also approved by many ship classification bodies, including the:
- Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NKK)
- Bureau Veritas (BV)
- American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)
- Det Norske Veritas (DNV)
- Germanischer Lloyd (GL)
The expense and scale of a shipbuilding project leave no room for subpar wires. So select those that have the proper specifications and procure them from a reliable supplier.
For wires that brave hostile marine environments, leave a message to our cable specialists.