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Electric shock drowning
Did you know that you are at risk by entering the water near a boat or dock powered by electricity? ESD can be deadly and is the result of a person coming into contact with an electrical current in the water. Stray voltage can come from boats or docks with faulty wiring, frayed cords and devices not approved as shore- or marine-rated. It can cause complete loss of muscle control, the inability to move and, ultimately, lead to drowning.
If you think someone has been shocked
- Throw in a life ring or other floatation device.
- Never enter the water. You could become a victim too!
- Turn off the shore power connection and disconnect power cord from pedestal.
- Call for help. Use 911 or VHF Channel 16 (as appropriate).
How to prevent ESD
- Do not enter water near a marina or dock.
- Turn off the shore power connection and/or disconnect power cord from pedestal.
- If you feel a tingling sensation, get out of the water and report it to staff.
- Notify the harbormaster of any electrical safety hazards so they can be fixed.
- Pets are also impacted by ESD. Do not allow your pet to enter the water.
ESD is preventable and boaters are a large part of the solution. The following tips will help alleviate electrical currents entering the water
- Have a qualified marine electrician
- Install an equipment leakage circuit interrupter (ELCI) on your boat or use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) in the shore power cord.
- Perform an annual inspection of your boat's electrical system.
- Test GFCI and ELCI protection as recommended by the manufacturer.
- Use power cords that are in good condition and properly rated. Do not use common household extension cords.