Preventing shock in the water

The heat is coming, which means many of us will be looking to find some water for some fun in the sun. And while practicing social distancing, be sure your swimming and boating area is safe from electrical hazards.

This infographic from the American Public Power Association has valuable information about how to prevent electric shock.





Docks and boats carry sources of electricity. Faulty wiring or the use of damaged electrical cords and other devices can cause the surrounding water to become energized. NEVER swim near a marina or near a boat while it’s running.

  • There is no visible warning of electrified water.
  • Electric current in the water causes the paralysis of muscles, which results in drowning.
  • Changes to the 2017 National Electrical Code required marinas and boatyards to have ground-fault protection to help prevent water electrification. Check to see if your marina, and the boats in the marina, have proper GFCI protection.
  • As little as 10 milliamps, 1/50th the amount used by a 60-watt light bulb, can cause paralysis and drowning.

What to do if you see electric shock drowning taking place:

  • Turn power off
  • Throw a life ring
  • Call 911
  • NEVER enter the water – you could become a victim, too

The 2017 National Electrical Code required marinas and boat socks to post electric shock warning signs where electricity is used near water.



Jason Kuiper

About Jason Kuiper

Jason Kuiper joined OPPD as a communications specialist in 2015. He formerly worked as a staff writer and reporter at the Omaha World-Herald.