While standing at the end of your boat dock, you see a person struggling in the water. Do you recognize that the person is drowning, or is something else going on? And what should you do? Doing the right thing could help save someone else's life, and might keep you from losing yours.
Electric Shock Drowning occurs when faulty dock or boat wiring causes electricity (alternating current or “AC” power) to enter fresh water and pass through a swimmer.
The swimmer does not need to be touching the bottom, a boat or dock structure, and even minute amounts of electricity can be incapacitating. As more light is shed on this danger, it is likely that some Electric Shock Drowning fatalities have been misidentified as drowning, preventing awareness of this summertime boating danger. The risk of electric-shock drowning is greatest in fresh or brackish waters, so some areas such as estuaries or rivers may only be in the danger zone after heavy rains. In saltwater, electrical current takes the path of least resistance, bypassing swimmers.