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Boat and Dockside Electrical Safety

For Release: June 27, 2012

Contact: Kyla Kruse, 217-546-6815

Boat and Dockside Electrical Safety

Recent Lake Fatalities Highlight Need for Electrical Safety Actions

(SPRINGFIELD, IL) —July has brought tragic reminders of electrical hazards that can happen around boats and boat docks. Just this past weekend, 26-year-old Jennifer Lankford was swimming with family in the Lake of the Ozarks. She was electrocuted when she touched a dock that is believed to have had faulty wiring. Also at Lake of the Ozarks, a 13-year-old girl and her 8-year-old brother received fatal electrical shocks while swimming near a dock. In Tennessee, two boys, ages 10 and 11, lost their lives as a result of receiving an electrical shock while swimming between house boats on Cherokee Lake in Tennessee.

"Make sure that the dock area is safe. This means making sure electrical connections are properly installed and safely maintained," adds Molly Hall, executive director of the Safe Electricity program. "Your loved ones' lives just might depend on it." Even if you are just renting the dock, it is important that you notify the dock owner of any safety violations so that they can be fixed immediately.

Wet environments are particularly dangerous when it comes to electricity. While regulations might vary by location, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that electricity-related drowning can be prevented by regular inspections for ground-fault failure and by strict enforcement of the National Electric Code through frequent inspections of pools and docks.


An important step to ensure safety around boat docks and swimming pools is to include ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection. Make sure the GFCI is professionally installed to prevent shock, electrocution, and injury. Safe Electricity urges boat owners to have dockside electrical systems installed by professional electricians guided by National Electric Code and to have these systems inspected regularly to avoid tragedy. Boat wiring should be in compliance with American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) standards.


Safe Electricity urges all swimmers that if you feel a tingle, avoid metal ladders and objects, and get out of the water as soon as possible-the best and quickest way you can.
When boating or fishing this summer, be aware of your surroundings and potential electrical hazards. "Always check the location of nearby power lines before boating or fishing," advises Hall. "Contact between your boat and a power line could be devastating." Maintain a distance of at least 10 feet between your boat and nearby power lines.


As part of its "Teach Learn Care" TLC campaign, Safe Electricity reminds everyone: Teach what you know about electrical safety, Learn what you need to, and Care enough to share it with those you love. Get more information at SafeElectricity.org.

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The Energy Education Council is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to promoting electrical safety and energy efficiency. Established in 1952, the Council is headquartered within the University of Illinois Extension, and serves as a forum for diverse utility and energy organizations to collaborate on the mutually vital issues of efficiency and safety. Learn more at www.EnergyEdCouncil.org.

 


 

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