Fish Radio

Electrical Course for Boats troubleshoots basics

September 4, 2014

This is Fish Radio. ’m Laine Welch – Plug in to your boat’s electronics. More after this –

Boat Electronics Course at  Univ. of AK/Southeast

Boat Electronics Course at
Univ. of AK/Southeast

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Electricity is any boat’s lifeline. A new self-paced, online course will show you how to spot and fix basic electrical problems on any vessel.

 The wiring on some of the boats is amazing. Somebody adds something or takes something out and they leave the old wiring behind. You get a 30 year old boat and some of the wiring is just amazing. 

 Alan Sorum is a former Valdez harbormaster and port director and collaborator on the Boat Electrical Systems course offered now at the University of Alaska/Southeast. Wiring is just one of eight course modules that use animations, YouTube videos and direct contacts with experts at the Sitka campus. Being able to deliver it on line and at a distance has been the great bridge, says Torie Baker, an Alaska  Sea Grant advisor in Cordova and partner in the project.

What classes like this do, and I’ve seen it in auto mechanics and refrigeration you’ve got to systematically understand what you’re up against and how to troubleshoot it and the tools that you need. 

Baker and Sorum agree a top feature is the focus on troubleshooting. For example, knowing the rights and wrongs of basic bonding and grounding would prevent a harbormaster’s biggest hassle.

 Boats have ac systems and dc systems and if they’re not wired correctly you end up getting voltage or current in the wrong places and it causes all kinds of problems – for your boat and your neighbor’s boat and it costs money for the power and it causes electrolysis. For me that was always the biggest hassle – someone would complain about having a hot harbor or a prop getting eaten up and it’s so hard to track down who’s causing the problem. For a harbor that was always the biggest things.

The Boat Electrical Course is open for sign ups now. The 10-15 hour course self paced over three months costs $125. Find links at UAS or Sea Grant and at

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