I have been in many marinas this past year. Recently, as I performed a safety audit at a facility, I realized many marinas may overlook a serious hazard.
With marinas adding other water sport activities such as Stand Up Paddle boards and Kayaks, are we exposing customers to potential electric shock drowning? Below is an image from the recent marina. The SUP launch area was in the middle of facility with slips full of boats all around.
Last week, at the Docks Expo in St. Louis, I spoke with Chris Dolan, Manager of Sales & Customer Relations at Marina Electrical Equipment. Specifically, I asked Chris about the dangers of SUP in the marinas. When asked specifically about SUP or kayak launches, Chris stated:
"Based on personally viewing the condition of thousands of marina electrical systems throughout North America, I would highly discourage placing the launching and / or reception areas for stand-up paddle boarding, kayaks, canoes, etc. close to docking locations where electrical equipment is being utilized. The potential for electrical current to be in the water caused by poor wiring on vessels, improper electrical grounding systems on the dock, or any other method of transferring dangerous electrical current into water surrounding these slips, is too great to allow someone to inadvertently fall into the water and become injured or worse".
The chances a person entering the water when trying a SUP or kayak for the very first time is great. Chris shared:
"The problem with the electrical current leakage in the water is extremely dangerous because it is essentially invisible. While someone on a paddle board or kayak can avoid a boat headed in their direction, it is almost impossible to avoid electrical current in the water without providing a safe area away from boats being supplied with electricity. Studies vary on how far electricity can travel in the water but it has been agreed upon it depends on the amount of leakage in the water as to how far the current can be felt."
What are your thoughts? Are the addition of SUP and Kayaks potentially increasing the risk of exposure to electric shock drowning? Has your marina implemented protections to ensure the SUP customer is safe. Join the conversation on our Facebook page.
If you have specific questions about your marina's electrical system, Chris Dolan can be reached at 757-869-4683 or by email email@example.com.
If you need help or would like more information on how we can help transform your workspaces, give me a call at 757-391-9200 (ext. 113) or drop us an email.