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For many, swimming and boating are synonymous with summer fun. However, there are many electrical hazards that come along with these leisurely summer activities. Just like your home, it is critical that you have your boat inspected regularly by a licensed electrician and that you are familiar with the electrical system so you can identify and correct any potential hazards. Along with the safety of your boat's electrical system, it is critical for the safety of boat operators and swimmers to understand the hazard of electric shock drowning. ESFI's Boating and Marina Safety resources have the necessary tools to ensure that fun in the sun doesn't give way to an emergency at sea.
Docks and boats carry sources of electricity. Faulty wiring or the use of damaged electrical cords and other devices can cause the surrounding water to become energized. NEVER swim near a marina or near a boat while its running.
What to do if you see electric shock drowning taking place:
The 2017 National Electrical Code requires marinas and boat socks to post electric shock warning signs where electricity is used near waterTop
5 Tips for Boat Owners:
Safety Device Guide:
Electric Shock Drowning:
Electric Shock Drowning occurs when a body makes contact with electrified water and becomes a conductor of electricity leading to the possibility of complete loss of muscle control, rapid or irregular heart beat (ventricular fibrillation), and even electric shock death.
Common Causes: Docks and boats can carry sources of electricity. Faulty wiring or the use of damaged electrical cords and other devices can cause the surrounding water source to become energized.
How to Avoid:
How to Respond:
Marina Safety Checklist:
Familiarize yourself with your marina and help prevent electrical hazards. Use this checklist to talk with the marina manger or owner about potential safety concerns
Unknowingly, many swimmers and boat and marina operators place themselves in the face of danger by swimming near electric-powered boats and docks. This innocent act of fun can turn tragic as electric shock drowning occurs each year. Raising awareness among marina and boat operators can help prevent electric shock drowning or other electrical injuries while out on the water.
Although boating is considered to be a carefree activity, there are many electrical hazards that need to be considered before leaving the dock. Reduce the risk of electric shock drowning and common boat electrical hazards with these handy tips from ESFI.
Electrical Safety Tips for Boat Operators:
Unknowingly, many swimmers and boat and marina operators place themselves in the face of danger by swimming near electric-powered boats and docks. This innocent act of fun can turn tragic as electric shock drowning occurs each year. Raising awareness among marina and boat operators can help prevent electric shock drowning or other electrical injuries while out on the water. Additionally, there are electrical safety precautions boaters must adhere to to ensure the electrical safety of the entire marina.
Learn how to keep marinas and docks safe this summer with these tips from ESFI:
Familiarizing yourself with your boat's electrical system is important in order to be able to identify and correct potential hazards.
What is a circuit breaker? A circuit breaker is an automatically operated electrical switch designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by an overload or short circuit. Circuit breakers were designed to detect faulty electrical conditions within electrical systems and interrupt current flow.
What is a GFCI? GFCIs are electrical safety devices that trip electrical circuits when they detect ground faults or leakage currents. These outlets or circuit breakers prevent shock and electrocutions by quickly shutting off power to the circuit if the electricity flowing into the circuit differs by even a slight amount from that returning.
What is a portable GFCI? While most GFCIs are outlets, a portable GFCI requires no special knowledge or equipment to install. It adds flexibility in using receptacles that are not protected by GFCIs. Portable GFCIs should only be used on a temporary basis and should be tested prior to every use.
What is an ELCI? Equipment Leakage Circuit Interrupters (ELCIs) are Circuit Breakers that provide protection from current leakage and overcurrent. ELCIs measure current flow within electrical wires and immediately switches electricity off if an imbalance of current flow is detected. ELCIs provide whole-boat protection.
What is a shore power cord or marine power cord? A shore power cord is a cord designed specifically for use near water to provide shore side electrical power to ships and boats while its main and auxiliary engine is turned off.
What is a pedestal or dockside electrical system? A pedestal or dockside electrical system is a power box designed with corrosion-resistant materials to provide electricity safely on the dock meeting safety standards for use in marine environments.