5 Ways to Maximize Electrical Safety on Your Lakeside Boat Dock

Whether your current lakeside dock is powered with electricity or you're considering installing electrical components on an existing dock, several safety measures exist that you need to be aware of. The following are five of them.

Don't Allow Swimming Near Your Dock

It's best to err on the side of caution when electricity and water are part of the same picture. Post "no swimming signs" in several easily spotted locations on and around your dock area, and be sure that family, friends, and assorted visitors to your home are aware that swimming off the dock is not allowed on your property. Swimming near electrically powered docks is a main cause of electric shock drowning. Boats that are powered by electricity also pose potential hazards to swimmers. Make it a hard-and-fast rule that no one swims within 100 yards of your dock under any circumstance -- even if you've shut off the power source.

Have All Electrical Installations Performed by Professionals

Experienced marine construction professionals are equipped with the knowledge and expertise to ensure that all electrical work has been properly performed. They will be familiar with local codes and ordinances specific to your locality. There is no real margin for error involved in the installation of electrical components -- even the slightest faults could have deadly consequences. For instance, in July of 2012 at the Lake of the Ozarks, a pair of siblings were fatally electrocuted while swimming between privately owned docks. the cause of death of the thirteen-year-old girl and her eight-year-old brother was officially listed as an improperly grounded circuit.

Have Regular Inspections Performed

Docks containing electrical components as well as the power supplies that feed the docks should be inspected by a qualified professional on an annual basis. You should also consider having your dock inspected after a severe summer storm, especially if you notice even a small amount of physical damage to the structure. A good inspection should ensure that ground circuit breakers are functioning properly, that there are no loose or frayed wires that might allow electricity to leak out into the water, and that all other electrical fittings are in place and working as they should. The power supply source should also be inspected

Learn to Recognize Potential Electrical Problems With Your Dock

A marine construction and repair professional, such as Abbott's Construction Services Inc., is an excellent resource for information on how to recognize potential electrical problems with your dock. Keep in mind that no question is too stupid when it comes to marine safety. Don't be afraid to ask to be shown exactly how to safely turn the electrical source off if necessary. A possible sign of electrical problems is a tripping break -- even once is once too often when it comes to dock electrical safety. If your electrical system includes outdoor lighting, watch for flickers when the lights are on. Small shocks or tingles is another sign of electrical problems. If you experience any of these issues, you should shut the power off to your dock and not use it again until it has been thoroughly inspected by a qualified professional.

Promote Neighborhood Awareness

Even if electrical components on your dock have been professionally installed and are monitored on a regular basis to ensure maximum safety, your family members, friends, and other users may still be at risk if your neighbors aren't paying proper attention to electrical maintenance and repairs. If your lake house is situated in an area that has a homeowners' association, don't be afraid to bring electrical issues up at community meetings to make certain that everyone understands the importance of proper electrical maintenance on their docks.