A fun day out on the water could turn into a fatal accident, if the mast of your sailboat comes into contact with a low electrical line. In order to keep the public safe, the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) publishes clearance requirements for electrical lines that hang over bodies of water.
The NESC clearance requirements are different depending on whether or not the waterway is suitable for sailboating. Additionally, the NESC publishes separate clearance requirements for areas that are posted for rigging or launching sailboats. Where the body of the water is not suitable for sailing or where sailing is prohibited, the minimum clearance for electrical lines is always 17 feet.
In waterways suitable for sailing, the NESC clearance requirement changes depending on the surface area of the body of water. The larger the body of water, the higher the required clearance. Below are the NESC clearances for waterways suitable for sailing: