Most people know the dangers that come with swimming: rip currents, venturing out too far and drowning. But most people aren’t aware of a hidden danger, electric shock drowning. This occurs when an alternating current from a boat or dock passes through the water and paralyzes a swimmer, making them unable to swim to safety. Sometimes, if the current is strong enough, the swimmer can be electrocuted. In this case, it is impossible to jump into electrified water to rescue the victim. Docks, marinas or boatyards are the most common area for electric shock drowning. Here’s how you can prevent electric shock drowning:
- Never swim in docks, marinas or boatyards and stay away from areas nearby. Theres no way to tell whether the water is energized or not and even if it isn’t, it could become energized in a matter of seconds.
- Tell others to avoid swimming in these dangerous areas. Many people are unaware of electric shock drowning, so informing others will help bring awareness.
- Encourage dock, marina and boatyard owners to post warning signs around the property. This will help others know it is dangerous to swim in that area.
- Make sure your dock, marina or boatyard follows electrical and inspection standards issued by the National Fire Protection Association.
- Be sure that your boat conforms to electrical standards that are set by the American Boat and Yacht Council.
- Hire professionals to do electrical work and inspections to the dock, marina or boatyard.
- An electrician with a current ABYC certification should inspect your boat each year.