CPSC Staff Guidance on Boat Hoists used at Residential Dwellings

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is an independent federal regulatory agency responsible for protecting consumers from unreasonable risks of injury and death from consumer products. Our authority is set forth in the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), 15 U.S.C. § 2051 - 2084. Consumers who own boats may have docks in proximity to their residences. The CPSC staff considers it necessary to have ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection to prevent electrocutions from electrically operated boat hoists near residential dwellings. This includes installations not only for cord and plug connected boat hoists, but for hard wired equipment as well. Grounding provisions associated with hard wiring can not be relied upon alone for adequate electrocution protection for boat hoists. This is based on the fact that these installations are exposed to harsh weather conditions, the presence of moisture corrosive to the typical boat hoist metallic apparatus, and the presence of cords associated with the motor and motor control wiring harnesses found even with hard wired electrically powered boat hoists. There have been a number of fatal electrocutions with boat hoists in the past that did not have GFCI protection in proximity to residences. CPSC staff understands there may be some confusion in the boat hoist industry with respect to supplying GFCI protection with boat hoists in proximity to residential installations. CPSC staff urges that the industry look at installation practices and assure that GFCI protection is offered for installations. The CPSC staff will follow-up as appropriate.