Shore Cords – Which End Do You Unplug First?


Boats, both power and sail, that have 110V need Shore Cords to plug into marine power at the dock. Some use one while others need two cords.  

Shore cords are designed for marine use where water and hydro are in such close proximity.  

Domestic extension cords are not approved for marine use and could actually be dangerous. Like everything else marine, you have to know how to use, store and care for your cords.

It’s easy, right? You just plug in both ends and you’re good to go. But, which end do you plug in first?

Always plug in the dead end first - Unplug the live end last.

Plugging In

Always plug in the dead end first. When arriving at the dock, plug in the boat end first, then the dock end. If you do it the other way around, you, could be electrocuted if you accidentally drop the live Shore Cord in the water or grab the end of the cord with wet hands.

You wouldn’t connect the dock end of your water hose first and turn it on before connecting to the boat. Similarly, you shouldn’t connect the dock end of the power cord first, then handle and connect a live wire to your boat.

Always plug in the boat end first, then plug into the Power on the dock. Plug in the live end last!


Think of your shore cord as a water hose. The only way to turn off the water flow is at the dock end first. You wouldn’t disconnect the water hose from the boat first, because the water would continue to flow.

Similarly, you shouldn’t disconnect the boat end of the shore cord first, because it is still alive. Handling a live cord is dangerous and could potentially kill someone if it landed in a puddle or fell in the harbour.

So, when leaving the dock, always unplug the live (dock/shore) end first.



Shore Up Your Cords

Shore Cords Are Dangerous

4 thoughts on “Shore Cords – Which End Do You Unplug First?”

  1. Have been an owner of SeaRay cruisers for years in the 36 foot range primarily inland at Lake Powell, UT. We dont deal with currents but we have plenty of extreme weather events to add to our excitement when camping, docking, trailer loading or cruising. I’ve enjoyed your comments over the years. Thanks

  2. Great explanation Doug comparing a shore cord that some don’t understand to a water hose that all people can relate to. Great. R

  3. Doug, I have done as you suggest for years. But I notice that newer Marinco cords have an LED now built into the face of the female end – so that it illuminates the male outlet on the boat WHEN YOU PLUG IT IN. This is NOT the usual LED moulded into the handle but more like a flashlight built into the face of the female plug – and the illustration shows it being used to connect on a dark night.

    I was a little surprised to see this. A little convenience provided by the manufacturer, but encouraging an unsafe practice.

    All the best,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap