What Can Cause Electrical Currents in the Water and How to Protect Your Family

Boating, swimming, fishing, waterskiing- there’s nothing like summer at the lake! Your days should be spent bathing in the sun and enjoying your friends and family- not worrying for their safety. 

That’s why it is important to secure your swimming areas and educate your loved ones about the dangers of electricity in the water. Electric shock drowning (ESD) is known as a “silent killer” because it is widely underreported and often hard to recognize. 

Keep reading to learn more about how electricity gets into the water around your lake and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.

So, what causes electrical currents in the water? Here are some of the most common ways that electricity can sneak into your favorite summer swimming spots: 

  • Faulty electrical wiring on boats or docks can cause electrical currents to leak into the water. Freshwater lakes are especially conductive to electricity due to the dissolved minerals and impurities in the water. 
  • Aged wiring that has not been regularly updated or inspected also allows for electricity leaks. 
  • Lack of GFCI protection (Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupters) for lighting, outlets, switches, and other electrical receptacles on or around your dock.
  • Extension cords from TVs, radios, or other electrical appliances falling or being pulled into the water.
  • Improper grounding on docks. If your dock is not grounded properly, it can cause fires, erosion, and electric shock drowning. Make sure you contact an electrician who is familiar with marine codes and safety to ensure that your dock is not vulnerable to electrical currents. 

Tips to protect yourself from electricity in the water around your lake, boat, and dock:

  • Always avoid swimming near docks or marinas while a boat is running.
  • Familiarize your home and neighbors with where your power cutoffs are located. 
  • Have annual boat and dock inspections administered. Your dock wiring needs to be checked by a professional electrician every year. 
  • Install plastic or carbon fiber ladders on your boats, docks, and boat launches. This will reduce the amount of electricity that can be transferred into the water. 
  • Keep a carbon fiber rod on your dock in case of an emergency. Even inexperienced rescuers can use these life hooks to rescue swimmers from electrical waters.
  • Check the wiring on your dock regularly. Storms, wind, and other natural movements can cause wires to break or fall into the water, leaving you vulnerable to electrical shock drowning. Always call an electrician if you suspect wiring might be damaged. 

Learn more about how to protect yourself at the lake.

Secure your Swim Area

No one should have to feel scared for their loved ones in their happy place. That’s why our team at WaveLink created the first smart device that learns the waterscape around your dock and alerts you on your phone if there is any dangerous electrical activity. 

It continuously monitors your structure and the surrounding water, using machine-learning to increase sensitivity without generating false alarms.

Keep your swim area safe and reserve your Hub today