Attorneys for the maritime worker
since 1970

Are you in danger from an electrical shock in the water?

When working on a fishing boat, there are many hazards you face every day. From adverse weather and rogue waves throwing you overboard, to working with dangerous tools on the ship or being harmed by marine animals, you know that your job is dangerous. You and other Californians in the fishing industry can also face hazards from electrical current leaking from the boat or the dock.

According to the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association, most people are unaware of the risk of electric shock at docks and in open water. Authorities state the example that around water, a boat or a marina can act like a giant hair dryer. If there is a problem with the wiring, electrical current leaks into the surrounding water. If you swim where there is electricity, touch a metal surface that is in contact with the electrified water or are working underwater on your ship when current leaks, you can imagine what might happen.

Coming into contact with electrified water can have a range of consequences. You might feel a mild tingling, or your muscles could seize, making it impossible to swim or stay afloat. The current may cause severe burns or stop your heart.

How do you prevent this potentially deadly situation? It is a good idea to use electrical detecting equipment before you enter the water for boat or dock repair. If possible, you might shut off the dock electricity before performing maintenance work. Use a plastic ladder, rather than a metal one, on your boat. You may also want to conduct regular inspections on your ship’s wiring and install circuit breakers, rather than fuses, which more effectively shut off power if there is an electrical breach.

Understanding and addressing these risks can safeguard the lives of yourself and your crew.