Electricity 220V on the boat – what is it like?

When you spend your holidays in a hotel, you are used to the fact that there will always be electricity in the socket. When you enter a room, you look around the walls to plug in your computer, camera or other devices. Although you will find the same sockets on the yacht, electricity will not always be there. In the majority of cases, there is electricity 220V on the boat only when the boat is plugged in at the marina. 

Personally, the lack of 220V electricity on a yacht has never bothered me. When on holiday I try to disconnect from everyday life. Unfortunately, not everyone has this comfort. It is often the case that, despite being away, someone needs to have access to a computer, mailbox or to a bank (surely every businessman understands). I know of a case where one of the crew members had a 220V-powered medical device, essential for normal functioning. In such a case it is absolutely necessary to ensure that 220V electricity on the yacht does not run out. 

When is there electricity 220V on the boat? 

The first and most common solution is to connect the yacht to the marina’s electricity supply. Apart from charging the batteries, ladies can dry their hair with a hairdryer, coffee drinkers can brew coffee in the coffee machine. You can also charge all kinds of electronic equipment. However, after setting sail from the marina, the crew is dependent on the 12V electricity from the batteries. What to do in this situation? Either you have to accept it, or…. 

The second solution is boats equipped with a power generator. This is an independent  internal combustion engine generating electricity of 220V. This solution makes it possible to power all appliances and the air-conditioning system (if the yacht is equipped with it) at all times. However, it should be noted that, in addition to electricity, it also generates noise. 

The third way is boats that have a 220V inverter installed. By taking the electricity from the batteries it converts it to 220V. On the one hand, this is good, but on the other hand, you then have to be very careful. You cannot overload the system. This can lead to overheating and ultimately damage the inverter. Secondly, the amount of current in the batteries is naturally limited. Excessive power consumption can lead to their discharge. It is, therefore, necessary to keep a close eye on the voltage indicator when using an inverter. Good practice in such a situation is to run the motor(when using the inverter) to keep the batteries charged. 

In practice, the inverter works perfectly when you want to charge your computer or phone. However, it is better to refrain from boiling water or using a hair dryer. Apart from the fact that you have to be very careful, inverters can also be unreliable, therefore you should not rely on them 100%. As an alternative, you can equip yourself with a small, portable inverter with a cigarette lighter connection. This is ideal when you need to charge phones, cameras or computers. 


In a nutshell, what should be kept in mind? 

  1. Most charter yachts have neither an inverter nor a power generator. The only electricity available outside the marina is a 12V current from the batteries. 
  1. If you need 220V electricity throughout your cruise, look for yachts with a generator
  1. It is a good idea to have a splitter with you. There are usually not enough sockets on board (especially on older boats). 
  1. Air conditioning on yachts works only if the boat is plugged in at the marina or if there is a generator on board. 
  1. Before sailing it is a good idea to equip yourself with a cigarette lighter charger (the kind you can buy at any petrol station). Not all yachts have USB sockets, but a cigarette lighter input is on virtually everyone. 

Yachting greetings 
Grzegorz from YACHTIC.com 

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