I hear it stated over and over and over that the ABYC standards make an exception for starting motor circuits, and this is 100% true. The reason it is true is to accommodate HUGE engines that can not easily or simply be protected with over current protection. The vast majority of marine engines in the world today can easily be protected with over current protection. If you own a massive yacht, with massive engines, please put your starting motor conductors in a protected conduit if they can not be fused.
"188.8.131.52.1 Overcurrent Protection Device Location:
Ungrounded conductors shall be provided with overcurrent protection within a distance of seven inches (178mm) of the point at which the conductor is connected to the source of power measured along the conductor.
1. Cranking motor conductors."
On engines sub 300HP +/- there is no good excuse for not fusing all battery banks on-board including starting circuits. If your start bank can not be fused then please take the time to protect the wire in a conduit for your own safety.
What do we know about this fire on a 15' Boston Whaler?
1- Electrical fire
2- Single Group 24 battery
3- Multiple children under the age of 9 on-board seconds before the fire!
3- NO OVER CURRENT PROTECTION!!!!!
Use the ABYC exception, or common sense? You decide.....