Boat Dock Bill Aims to Promote Electrical Safety

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Spring and summer means boating for many St. Louisans, but it also means ensuring your dock is electrically safe.

Earlier this month, a mother was electrocuted while swimming around a boat dock at the Lake of the Ozarks. The Electrical Connection is offering tips to keep such tragedies from happening again.

“First of all, inspecting your own dock yearly is of very big importance,” says Jeffrey Holmes, an instructor with IBEW Local One.

Holmes says changes in the weather and waves crashing into docks can change the wiring system. Boat dock owners should have a ground fault circuit interrupter that will cut off power if the current discharges into the water. He also suggests a switch to disconnect power at the dock entrance that can be easily be found by first responders.

“So in case the house is locked, firefighters can’t get in, but the dock disconnect is right there, right at the walkway,” he says.

He also cautioned against unqualified people doing electrical work.

The Electrical Connection says it supports legislation aimed at decreasing dock tragedies.

Senator Jake Hummel’s bill requires those that own a body of water to prohibit swimming around any boat dock or marina and ramp up electrical code compliance for all docks and marinas.

“We’re supporting that bill which is really a common sense bill trying to protect people, not necessarily from themselves, but from other people who may be doing things that aren’t particularly up to standards,” Holmes says.

The Electrical Connection says there are several things boat dock owners can do now to ensure they have no electrical issues, including never using extension cords on a dock, checking your neighbors dock for issues and placing a disconnect switch where first responders can find it in case of emergency.

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