BOULDER CITY – Every summer, thousands of boaters head to Lake Mead for fun. Many residents may not realize the risks of potential electrical hazards on board boats and in the waters surrounding boats, marinas, and launch ramps.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) are working together to provide resources, including marina safety tips and a checklist that details common ESD causes and prevention methods.
Boulder City Fire Department (BCFD), NFPA and ESFI are urging residents to follow these precautions on boats and the surrounding waters.
“We want all residents of Boulder City to understand the dangers of electric shock drowning (ESD),” says Greg Chesser, BCFD Deputy Fire Chief. “It can occur when faulty wiring sends an electrical current into the water, which passes through the body and causes paralysis, and ultimately results in drowning.”
Tips for swimmers:
- Never swim near a marina, dock or boatyard, launching ramp, or near a boat while it is running. Residual current could flow into the water from the boat or marina wiring, putting anyone at risk of ESD.
- Do not swim near the boat’s exhaust vents. Carbon monoxide accumulates there.
Tips for boat owners:
- Avoid entering the water when launching or loading a boat. Docks or boats can leak electricity into the water causing water electrification.
- Each year, and after any major storm, have the boat’s electrical system inspected and upgraded by a qualified marine electrician to be sure it meets the required codes of your area. Check with the marina owner who can also tell you if the marina’s electrical system has recently been inspected to meet the required codes of your area, including the National Electrical Code® (NEC).
- Have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) installed on the boat; use only portable GFCIs or shore power cords (including “Y” adapters) that are “UL-Marine Listed” when using electricity near water. Test GFCIs monthly.
For more safety tips, please visit www.nfpa.org/watersafety and www.esfi.org.