Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) is the result of the passage of a typically low level AC current through the body with sufficient force to cause skeletal muscular paralysis, rendering the victim unable to help himself / herself, while immersed in fresh water, eventually resulting in drowning of the victim.  Higher levels of AC current in the water will also result in electrocution.

Although Electric Shock Drowning can occur virtually in any location where electricity is provided near water, the majority of Electric Shock Drowning deaths have occurred in public and private marinas and docks.   Electric shock drowning is known as a silent killer:  Accidents can happen in as little as two feet of water.  Why? Electricity can travel short distances in water.  Electric-shock drowning occurs when a low-level AC current from boats, docks or lights, “escapes” and shocks nearby persons.  In fresh water, the body conducts electricity better than the water itself. (Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association)

The ESDPA provides a few tips on how to avoid drowning from electric shock.  1. NEVER swim in or near marinas, docks or boatyards that use AC electrical power for any purpose (boat power, electrical outlets, lighting, boat lifts, aerators, etc.).    2. Tell others about the dangers   3. If you are a boat owner, have your boat inspected by an electrician with current ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council) Electrical Certification.  4. Boats with alternating current (AC) systems should have isolation transformers or equipment leakage circuit interrupter (ELCI) protection, comply with (ABYC) standards.   #safetypreventsinjury

 

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