If you've ever had to replace an electrical shore cable, you know how expensive it is. As I mentioned in last week's blog, the insulation had deteriorated on our shore power cable, and we needed to replace it. After shopping around, the best price we could find for a 50 foot, 30 amp cable was $87 on Amazon. That's a lot for what is nothing more than a heavy-duty extension cord, but as with everything else that's rated 'Marine', we've come to expect to pay double or triple what the non-marine rated gizmo would cost.
What was especially painful was to stretch that new, expensive cable across the dock to the nearest shore outlet, then watch it being run over by all the dock carts, bicycles, and hand trucks that routinely traverse the dock. I needed a cable protector.
After researching the options, I found that the inexpensive ones were meant for household extension cords, and not big enough to protect my new marine shore cable. The size cable protector that was large enough and which appeared robust enough for my intended use was almost as expensive as the cable itself. Confident that I could come up with a better way that wasn't as expensive, Marcie and I headed off to the nearest Lowes.
Marcie is very patient on our trips to chandleries and hardware stores – much more so than I am when it's her turn and we visit a fabric store or thrift shop. She does quite well when the shopping list is short and precise – 10 stainless 1/4” bolts, say, or a quart of white marine enamel. Her patience is really stretched, however, when I don't know what I want and I need to walk the aisles looking for inspiration. I finally found what I wanted, but I owe her big time. In the near future I predict I'm going to have the opportunity to spend an hour or two in a Salvation Army thrift shop.
What I found was an exterior PVC Drip Cap Window Molding. It has just the right profile. When two sections are placed back-to-back with the cable sandwiched between them on the dock, they ramp up nicely and protect the cable quite well. Since it is made of PVC and already painted, it is weather resistant.
I bought an 8' section and cut it half. I held it in place on our old wooden dock with wood screws. If I need to use it on a dock where screwing it down isn't practical, I will mount the two sections on a thin, flat section of aluminum – maybe aluminum flashing.