Safety & Security

Be safe on the water

Electrical current can lurk in lakes, rivers

One of the joys of living in Central Texas is having abundant access to beautiful lakes and rivers. If you plan to spend time swimming or boating this summer, remember to keep safety in mind. While you’re likely aware of drowning dangers, take a minute to learn about electric shock drowning, and how to protect yourself and your loved ones from this unseen danger.

What is electric shock drowning?

Electrical current can seep into a body of water from boats, docks, and lights near marinas. Once the current makes it into the water, it can shock anyone swimming nearby, causing paralysis. Because water charged with electrical current looks perfectly normal, it’s important to know what to avoid and how to stay safe.

Prevent electric shock drowning with these tips:

  • Don’t swim near marinas, boatyards, or boat ramps

A good rule is to stay more than 100 yards away. Swimming too close to these areas puts you at risk for electric shock because residual current can flow into the water. And never swim near a boat while it’s running.

  • Odd sensations in the water

Water that’s charged can cause you to feel tingling sensations. If you experience anything like this, immediately swim back in the direction you came from. Once you’ve arrived to a safe spot, alert others in the area of the potential danger.

  • Practice proper maintenance

Maintain your equipment and hire a professional to inspect it. A certified marine electrician will make sure your boat meets local and state safety codes. Inspect your boat before taking it out on the water for the first ride of the season and continue to check it regularly.

Follow these steps if you see or suspect electric shock drowning:

  • Find the power source and shut off all power immediately.
  • Call 911.
  • Throw swimmers a flotation device.

Don’t get in the water or the current could shock you too.