Many boat owners choose the convenience of keeping their boat at a local marina rather than towing.
Although marinas offer their wet slip customers attractive amenities such as water and cable TV, it is the availability of dockside electricity that could lead to a dangerous situation, or worse, Electric Shock Drowning.
Every year, swimmers are injured by stray electrical current from dock wiring or an electrical fault from a boat. Making the situation worse is that rescuers are often got unaware of the danger and end up suffering from the same paralyzing effects as the victim they are attempting to save.
This type of hazard is more likely to occur in freshwater than it is in salt water because saltwater conducts electricity better, which makes it harder – but not impossible – for lethal voltage levels to grow.
The best way to avoid the risk of Electric Shock Drowning is to stay clear of swimming from or near docks or boats where shoreside electrical connections are available.
More things that can be done to help minimize the risk of Electric Shock Drowning are:
- Have all electrical work completed by marine electricians certified by the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC).
- When selecting a marina to tie up to long term, ask about their electrical inspection, testing, and maintenance program, including procedures to minimize the risk of Electrical Shock Drowning.
- Promptly report to marina management evidence of chaffing cables, tripping of Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI), or similar issues with the electrical system and dock pedestals.