A few nights ago I went down to the boat, sat down to watch a movie on my laptop, and noticed that it seemed to think it wasn't plugged in.
Upon further investigation, I found that it was plugged in. The circuit breaker for the outlet was turned on too. Looking further, it turned out that none of my 110V systems were working. Going to the dock, I found the shorepower connection was plugged in and the breaker was turned on.
Back on deck, I unplugged the shorepower cable and found this ugly mess:
Now when I discovered the problem, that loose bit of metal was still firmly embedded in the female end of the cord. Not thinking (since I'd just checked that the power was on) I grabbed it to pull it out.
All things considered, I suppose it was just enough of a jolt to remind me that sometimes I'm an idiot.
Apparently, one of the leads had started to corrode. As they corrode, the connections get worse, the terminals heat up, and start to become more flexible. As they flex, the terminals lose their grip and the connections get worse still. This downward spiral continues until something fails enough to the point where there is no longer a flow of electrons.
Fortunately, the connection was broken before anything burst into flame. It wou've been unpleasant to go down to the boat and find it'd burned down and sank.
Here's what the receptacle looked like on the boat end:
And here's the insides of it once I'd started to dismantle it:
Like I said, I'm lucky the boat didn't burn down to the waterline.
Anyhow, a hundred dollars and an hour later I replaced the end of the cord, the receptacle, and swept up the debris:
Now it's just a matter of waiting for the next minor problem.