As someone who works in the fishing and boating industry, you understand many of the dangers you face on a daily basis. A storm could blow you overboard, heavy machinery on your ship could strike you or you could slip on a wet deck. The marine life you are fishing or handling may even harm you. Naturally, you take precautions to avoid becoming another statistic in the dangerous maritime profession. You and other boaters in Louisiana should also understand the lesser-known risks of electrocution from docks or electrical equipment on board.
The Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association cautions that electricity in the water surrounding boats and docks is an invisible risk – meaning most people are unaware of the danger before an accident occurs. Additionally, you may not consider electric shock much of a risk at sea, since freshwater is a much better conductor of electricity than saltwater. However, electric current leaking from your boat or a dock in the sea can still pose dangers to you or your crew. These may include the following:
- Electrocution from current leaking from your boat as you are in the water performing maintenance on the hull
- A shock as you contact water on or near the dock that is in contact with an electrical charge
- A shock from a ladder or other metal surface that is in contact with electricity
The effects of contacting electricity in the water can range from mild tingling to your muscles locking up, causing you to drown. You may receive severe burns with a significant amount of electricity in the water, or your heart could even stop.
Before you get in the water near your boat or dock to perform maintenance, it is important to test if the area is electrified with equipment meant to detect current leaks. It is also wise to conduct regular checks on the wiring in your ship and at the docks to prevent electrocution hazards.