marine grade cables

ABYC Wiring Standards and Marine Grade Cables

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Boat lights and other types of equipment on vessels are prone to corrosion. Without proper protection, persistent exposure to saltwater can cause devices to deteriorate at an alarming rate. When it comes to wiring for equipment on boats, heavy-duty marine grade cables must be applied in order to maintain electrical connection. There are different types of marine-grade cables available on the market today, which have their own respective applications.

ABYC Guidelines for Marine Grade Cables

The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) sets forth numerous standards for wiring on vessels. The guidelines ensure that a specific color is assigned to a respective wiring application. For instance, a gray wire is applicable to navigation lighting systems while a dark blue wiring is used for cabin/instrument units. Furthermore, a purple wire is utilized for ignition-related components.

According to ABYC, it is best practice to route wires carrying current above areas where water is known to accumulate or pool. However, in cases wherein such wiring must be fed through watery locations, the connection is required to be watertight.

For routing through areas where engines are installed the cables should be oil resistant. Limitations for this type of wiring includes exposure to vibration, constant flexing and electrical for 110V.

What is ABYC?

ABYC is an organization that closely works with the US Coast Guard (USCG), Transport Canada, and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Interestingly, over 90 percent of vessels on the water today were designed to adhere to ABYC guidelines.

The non-profit group offers certificate programs for professionals interested in ABYC echnical standards. ABYC first published its manual in 1956. Revisions are constantly rolled out to keep the handbook updated at all times. Various countries worldwide have adopted ABYC standards for boating equipment. Because of this, boaters can be confident in applying the guidelines to their equipment.