Dock Danger

Swimming near boat docks can turn deadly, quickly.

electric shock drowning
Take caution, electricity in the water near docks can claim lives.Brian Fitzgerald

Sadly, the past weekend saw two fatalities linked to swimming near boat docks. An 11-year-old girl in New Jersey was electrocuted when she touched a charged boat lift, and a 19-year-old young man died as a result of jumping into electrically charged water in an attempt to save his father and the family dog, which were also struggling with the electrical current. It’s an all-too-common summertime tragedy that is preventable.

Electricity deaths in the water fall into two categories: electrocution, which occurs when a swimmer touches an electrically charged piece of metal, and electric shock drowning, which happens when current gets into — usually fresh or brackish — water. While Yachting has some tips for preventing these events here, further tips include:

  1. Having an electrician inspect the dock
  2. Installing ground-fault protection on boats and docks
  3. Periodically testing your boat for electrical leakage
  4. Being aware of your surroundings while swimming

For more information on the subject, head over to BoatUs.com.