886 - 05/13 - Surge Protectors Onboard - Worldwide


The United States Coastguard has released a Marine Safety Alert detailing the dangers of Surge Protective Devices onboard vessels.The Safety Alert details the potential dangers of using a surge protective device on board vessels, where there is an additional risk of fire due to the differences between electrical supply on board compared with in homes and offices (where these devices are designed to be used).The full MSA can be found at the USCG website (MSA 03-13b)Source of Information:

United States Coast Guard


Surge Protective Devices Onboard Vessels (correction with additional information)

We’ve all seen them and used them. Surge protective devices (SPDs), more commonly known as surge protectors or power strips help protect our expensive electronic devices from being damaged from excessive currents and allow us to simultaneously deliver power to multiple devices.

This safety alert addresses the use of certain electrical protection devices onboard vessels and the inherent risks they may cause. Most commercially available SPDs are designed for use ashore and will interrupt only the hot conductor when a surge occurs. What does that mean for the ship owner/operator? It means that while these devices may provide protection in our homes and offices, these same devices may be a fire risk onboard vessels.

This MSA document is provided for informational purposes only and does not relieve any domestic or international safety, operational or material requirement. Developed by the Office of Investigations and Casualty Analysis, United States Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, DC.

The Bulletin and MSA document is attached for download.


Staff Author