Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) is a real danger. The danger is invisible, but it may be lurking within water around docks and marinas.
Electricity used to power boats, dock lights and boat lifts can leak into water if not properly equipped, maintained and grounded. These leaks, caused by faulty electrical equipment, wiring and improper grounding, can emit enough current into the water to electrocute swimmers, boaters, and people on the dock. It only takes 10 milliamps of electricity (1/50th of the current used to power a 60-watt light bulb) to cause paralysis, rapid or irregular heartbeats, and even drowning.
This hazard can occur in fresh or salt water, but it’s even more dangerous in fresh water lakes. This is because electricity always finds the path of least resistance – in fresh water lakes this means swimmers, because the human body is more conductive than the water.
While several electric shock drownings have occurred in recent years in Missouri lakes, it is difficult to track just how many people may have been victims of ESD. What’s not reported are incidents of near misses, where people felt tingling and simply exited the water or a person drowns, but there are no witnesses – so authorities never know if an outside factor, such as ESD may have been the culprit.
Learn more about ESD through the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association’s brochure:
Casey & Devoti is a St. Louis-based personal injury law firm. Together, Partners Matt Casey and Matt Devoti have nearly 40 years of trial experience handling a variety of personal injury matters, including: car, truck and train accidents, victims of impaired and distracted driving, medical malpractice and birth injuries, product and premises liability, elder care and sexual abuse, Workers’ Compensation, and wrongful death. If you or a loved one have been injured by the negligence of another, contact our office today for a free, no-obligation consultation: (314) 421-0763.