The electrocution of a man at a Kentucky lake last weekend, along with two electrocutions that killed four children on the Fourth of July last year, has officials urging swimmers and boaters to use caution where electricity is present around water.
Kevin Short, 34, died Sunday when he was electrocuted at a private dock on Lake Cumberland when a frayed electrical cord came into contact with the aluminum ladder he was climbing, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Last year on the Fourth of July, two children died on Cherokee Lake in Tennessee and two children died in Missouri on Lake of the Ozarks.
In the wake of these tragedies, Safe Electricity, the American Boat and Yacht Council and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers/National Electrical Contractors Association issued a release reminding boaters and swimmers of safety precautions.
"Wet environments are particularly dangerous when it comes to electricity. It's vital to ensure electrical connections on or near the water are properly installed with appropriate safety equipment,” Safe Electricity executive director Molly Hall said in a statement. "Your loved ones’ lives just might depend on it."
Docks with electrical installations should be properly maintained, but the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association warns against swimming in or near marinas, docks or boatyards.
Swimmers who start to feel a tingle should swim away from any apparent electrical sources and get out of the water as soon as possible without touching metal objects, such as ladders. Bystanders should immediately turn off power to everything possible but should not jump in to help.
In addition, the 2011 National Electrical Code mandates a ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, on all dock receptacles. An imbalance of the current in a circuit, such as a discharge into the water, will trip the GFCI and cut off power.