Boating and swimming are fun pastimes and a great way to cool off when temperatures get hot. However, there is a hidden danger of which many are unaware—electric shock drowning (ESD). Safe Electricity urges water recreation enthusiasts to learn about ESD and prevent water electrocution accidents.
“While safety precautions like life jackets are a given for families who take to the water, each year ESD claims the life of people in the water near docks or boats plugged into shore power,” explains Erin Hollinshead, executive director of the Energy Education Council’s Safe Electricity program.
The Ritz family was stunned when their son Lucas was killed while swimming in a marina with his life jacket on and while under the close supervision of a parent. A boat plugged into shore power was silently leaking electricity into the water, and Lucas was killed as he swam into energized water.
Lucas’s family and Safe Electricity urge everyone to learn about electrical hazards that can be hidden near docks, boats and marinas; how to stay safe; and to care enough to share that information with others.
”We’re grateful to the Ritz family for their commitment to water recreation safety,” Hollinshead says. “Arming people with knowledge will help prevent tragedies and save lives.”
Safe Electricity provides the following tips to help you stay safe during water recreation activities:
Do not swim around docks with electrical equipment or boats plugged into shore power.
If you are in the water and feel electric current, shout to let others know, try to stay upright, tuck your legs up to make yourself smaller and swim away from anything that could be energized. Do not head to boat or dock ladders to get out.
If you are on the dock or shore when a swimmer feels electrical current, do not jump in. Throw them a float, turn off the shore power connection at the meter base, and/or unplug shore power cords. Try to eliminate the source of electricity as quickly as possible; then call for help.
If you own a boat and/or dock make sure it has proper safety equipment, complies with applicable standards and codes, and is checked out at least once a year.
This summer, Safe Electricity urges everyone to spread some TLC by teaching what you know about water recreation safety, learning about ESD, and sharing this important information with others. Learn more at SafeElectricity.org.