Galvanic Isolation

Galvanic Isolation

Protect your boat by installing a galvanic isolator. This smart gadget protects against electrical shock, ground loops, and corrosion. This is what can happen when you connect to shore power in a marina, for example. Whenever your boat is linked to an electrical system shared by other boats, use an isolator.

There are different situations where you might need to connect to shore power. Let’s say that you plan to spend some time lounging at the marina on a sunny day. Installing an isolator will enable you to enjoy soaking up the sun without worrying about a quiet crisis slowly building up beneath the waterline.

The galvanic cell is the silent enemy of your tranquil day in this scene. Conversely, the isolator is the hero that can save the day. If you don’t use the isolator, your aluminum outdrive may react to the submerged metals of another boat on the same dock circuit.


Preventing Galvanic Cells

When your boat is connected to shore power, it’s also connected to the same electric system as the other boats. This setup can lead to the development of a galvanic cell, which corrodes underwater metals like the expensive aluminum outdrives. To avoid this, sacrificial anodes can be used if your boat is moored; however, an isolator is a better bet if you plan to use shore power regularly.

The isolator is a lightweight gadget that increases the longevity of sacrificial anodes. Missing anodes and regular connections to shore power are the two main contributors to corrosion. It’s also a more affordable option than the isolation transformer, and it’s light enough to go unnoticed. However, you also need to know what specific features to look for when purchasing an isolator.

Tips for Choosing a Galvanic Isolator

Versatility and affordability are major concerns for boat enthusiasts searching for a quality galvanic isolation device. It should be compatible with the shore power amperage while maintaining simplicity of use. Complexity does not necessarily indicate quality, and some of the best isolators will also have a quick installation and setup time.


The ideal isolator will function in high outdoor temperatures. Check to see if the device can be adapted to accommodate foreign hook-ups. An ignition protection feature is highly desirable, and you should always check to see if it comes with a factory-direct warranty.

Check to make sure the unit has a robust waterproof design that functions without excessive heat buildup while operating. The connections should be made from marine-grade lead, and it should be housed in non-metallic material. Remember to ask for assistance from a qualified marine technician if you need any help.


SmartShore Galvanic Isolator

The SmartShore Isolator, paired with a remote monitor, will meet ABYC standards. The isolator from SmartShore is compatible with different voltages, and it can handle single- or two-phase systems. Protect your boat against issues with dock voltage systems and ensure a safe boating experience.

Other factors that affect the electric potential of aluminum hulls include alloy, temperature, and water salinity. The galvanic isolation device for these boats should provide around 2.5 volts of isolation to shield the boat from harmful DC and AC electrolytic voltages that originate from the dock.

Always keep a sharp eye on your anodes and watch for any signs of wasting or corrosion. The isolator you install is designed to prevent this type of damage, which can be costly to repair. If something went wrong, you also need to look into it, so the appearance of corrosion serves as a warning sign in these cases.

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