Common domestic type, plastic enclosed, power bars, intended for shore based power distribution systems, are not compatible with ungrounded power distribution systems found on the majority of vessels. This type of power bar typically includes metal oxide varistor suppression devices and when used onboard vessels creates a potential fire hazard.
The suppression devices cannot withstand sustained voltages, which occur on ungrounded distribution systems, when a ground fault is present. The devices overheat, melt the plastic housing, create noxious fumes and can potentially lead to fire.
Under no circumstances should domestic power bars be used onboard on vessels. If additional 120-volt outlets are required, use a metal enclosed power strip without suppression components, such as a Hammond Manufacturing Co. model 1584 or an equivalent, refer to the Web site, http://www.hammondmfg.com.
If surge protection is preferred, use Transtector SL-V power bars or an equivalent, which utilize silicon avalanche suppression diodes in a marine compatible connection. Refer to the Web site http://www.transtector.com.