RSS Feed Print
Caribbean shorepower voltage.
Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014 9:27 AM
Joined: 18/12/2013
Posts: 8

Hi, our boat has a 380 V/220V shorepower transformer. So a typical European voltage.

What shorepower do they connect with in the Caribbean? And do we need to install a new transformer for the vessel?

Thanks in advance.

Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014 10:05 AM
Joined: 26/11/2013
Posts: 3

What You need is a shore power converter. All the time I've spent in the Caribbean with a European voltage boat, we were running a generator. This was a few years ago, maybe something has changed by now...
Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014 4:59 PM
Joined: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3


I was in the Carib last winter on a boat that runs 380/220 50 hz with no power converter and ran on gennies all season as they supply 60hz at the dock. I heard possibly Martinique is on 50 hz but can't confirm this. Overall Carib is 60hz so unless you have a power converter onboard (asea or atlas) that will convert it to ship's requirement you'll be on gennies as well...
Posted: Sunday, February 16, 2014 7:32 PM
Joined: 18/12/2013
Posts: 8

Thanks for the answers guys. But apart from the 60Hz, how about the voltage? What kind of voltage do they provide?
Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 10:16 PM
I think you should call the marina and ask them!!!
Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 10:38 PM
Joined: 15/03/2009
Posts: 1

The voltage maybe the 380...400V as you get in 3-phase in europe, but the frequency (Hz) is the problem. Your pumps will melt if you connect 50Hz systems to 60Hz.... Ask me how I know...
Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 10:52 PM
Joined: 10/10/2008
Posts: 3

The marina supplies 220/380/460 Volts. What you need to know is if your boat is 50Hz or 60Hz. You said its a EU boat so I'm assuming 50Hz but you can check that using a voltmeter on any outlet on the boat. What matters is that the Hz are the same. So Caribbean supply is 60Hz. If that's what you got on your boat you're good to go. If you have 50hz on your boat and plug in all you motor will turn faster and burn out. Look at it this way: Hz are RPM. I you make a motor designed to spin at 50rpm go 60rpm things can get nasty real quick
Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 12:36 AM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1061

As others have said, the primary issue is frequency, not voltage. You are set up for 50hz and the Carib delivers 60hz, this will fry all your compressors in you AC and refrigeration systems as well as many other problems. What you need is a frequency inverter such as from Atlas or A/Sea.... What these do is take a wide spectrum of voltage from 170-520 50 or 60hz in, convert it to 700V DC or so and invert it to whatever V and Hz AC your vessel is set up to operate on. That way all you ever have to change is the plug on your shore power cord, or make an adaptor whip.
Peter Whipp
Posted: Wednesday, February 19, 2014 12:47 AM
Joined: 18/11/2013
Posts: 1

So..... As mentioned above the deal is most marina supply all the types of shore power.

We for example take 380V using 3-Phase. The marinas hook you up or point you to your correct connection. In fact in Point-A-Pitre (Guadeloupe) the other day they took our plug off and hard wired us to the supply!

Our SY is european built and loves 50hz.

Anyway here in Antigua they run on 60Hz as mentioned also above. Most motors actually run 50hz and 60hz if you look at the Ident plate.

Our problem is the washing machine doesn't like the 60hz so when the stews wants to put a wash on, it means we have to switch from shore power to Gen.... bringing that next Gen service 8hrs closer.

Then comes the next problem as we have some UPS's for providing back up power for computers and guest cabins etc while swapping from Gen-Gen-Shore Power. They don't like 60Hz and see it as a permanent problem unless you turn them off, unplug the power cable for a minute and turn them on again! Then they are good to go! Can i ask what UPS's you guys use? Brand name? Do they deal with the 50/60 swap?

Hope this helped.....

Many thanks,

Peter Whipp Chief Eng. SY Ree
Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2014 8:18 AM
Joined: 18/12/2013
Posts: 8

Thank you guys. This thread helped me a lot. I am very well aware of that it is a bad idea to run 60 Hz on a 50 Hz, as pumps will spin faster and so on.

I will look into a shore power converter that can convert 60 Hz into 50 Hz. Thanks for all the good inputs guys. 

Much appreciated!



Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2014 1:05 PM
Joined: 27/11/2012
Posts: 9

I hope that this helps a bit and gives some food for thought regarding shore power!.....Gary