Dangerous Boating Conditions: Electric Shock Drowning

Dangerous Boating Conditions: Electric Shock Drowning

Boating Dangers > Electric Shock Drowning (ESD)

In our last blog, we explored the common dangers that are lurking in marinas that most people probably don’t consider. A day of fun in the sun is all anyone craves in summer, but being aware of the dangers lurking below can prevent the day from turning sour in an instant. In this article, we’re going to explore the dangers of electric shock drowning (ESD), and how your clients can steer clear of this hazard. Even more importantly, address their insurance needs with a Recreational Marine Insurance Program.

How is ESD caused?

According to Boating Mag, an alternating-current appliance aboard a boat “leaks” a bit of power to the boat’s green-wire grounding system, which then electrifies nearby water through the boat’s underwater metal connected to that same ground via the bonding system used to prevent corrosion. That current reaches across the water’s surface and gradually dissipates. Since our salt-filled bodies conduct electricity better than fresh water, current flows through swimmers who enter that electrically charged water. Seawater, on the other hand, conducts electricity far better, so it quickly dissipates ground-fault current and mitigates the risk to swimmers.

The faults involved.

It takes two electric faults, combined with swimming in the marina, for ESD to become a serious threat. When the ground fault corrodes, or the ground circuit breaks, the leaked current charges the water as opposed to be carried out to the surrounding ground.

Next, if the dockside receptacle that absorbs this current is not monitored, this could lead to additional issues.

Because of this threat, shore-power receptacles, boxes, pedestals and wiring, as well as dock lighting circuits, should be inspected regularly, both in commercial marinas and on private docks.

Preventing ESD.

Every few years, an ABYC-certified electrician should run the electrical ground-fault test to ensure that the boat’s electrical systems are functioning properly. Next, children and adults who are swimming in the marinas should be cautious and aware of these risks. It’s wiser to wait until the boat is in open water to start enjoying a swim.

About Merrimac Marine, LLC

At Merrimac Marine, LLC, our focus is solely on the recreational and commercial marine industries, with our clients ranging from middle-market to large global companies within the specialized marine industry. Our experts are here to assist you in safeguarding your clients against risk and expanding your footprint in this market. For more information, contact us today at 800.681.1998.