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Prevent Deadly Shocks—Check Your Boats and Docks I


f you own a boat and/or a dock, take steps now to help prevent a tragedy. The Energy Educa on Council’s Safe Electricity program advises, “Prevent deadly shocks. Check your boats and docks.”


July 2012 saw some horrifi c fatal accidents near boats and boat docks. A 26-year-old woman was swimming with family in the Lake of the Ozarks and was electrocuted when she touched an energized dock ladder. 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 private dock; offi cials cited an improperly grounded circuit as the cause. In Tennessee, two boys, ages 10 and 11, lost their lives as they were shocked while swimming between house boats on Cherokee Lake, a result of on-board generator current apparently entering the water through frayed wires beneath the boat.


An important step in helping prevent such tragedies is to ensure proper installa on and maintenance of electrical equipment on docks and on boats. Take the  me to inspect all of the electrical systems on or near the water.


Safe Electricity in partnership with the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) and the Interna onal Brotherhood of Electrical Workers/Na onal Electrical Contractors Associa on recommend taking these steps before boa ng season begins:


• At a minimum, all electrical installa ons should comply with ar cles 553 (residen al docks) and 555 (commercial docks) of the 2011 Na onal Electrical Code which mandates a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) on all dock receptacles. A GFCI measures the current in a circuit. An imbalance of that current, such as a discharge into the water, will trip the GFCI and cut off power.


• The GFCI should be tested at least once a month or per the manufacturer’s specifi ca ons. The GFCI should be located somewhere along the ramp to the dock so it can be easily found and tested by a licensed electrician or local authori es as needed.


• The metal frame of docks should have “bonding jumpers” on them to connect all metal parts to a ground rod on the shore. That will ensure any part of the metal dock that becomes energized because of electrical malfunc on will trip the GFCI or the circuit breaker.


• Even if your dock’s electrical system has been installed by a licensed electrical contractor and inspected, neighboring docks can s ll present a shock hazard. Ensure your neighbor’s dockside electrical system complies with the Na onal Electrical Code and has been inspected.


Con nued on back cover


LINE DOWN TURN


AROUND


Lines on the ground can be dangerous!


Always assume lines are ENERGIZED! Call the coopera ve at 800-256-6405 to


report a downed line. 6 - NE Connection


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