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The invisible danger in marinas and around your boat

The weather is perfect for a weekend trip to the lake, and you and your family are anxious to load up the boat and head out to the cabin. At the Karns Law Group, we want our fellow Rhode Island residents to have a fun and safe summer, and we realize that water safety is a serious issue during the warmer months.

You may have safety covered when it comes to teaching your kids to swim and never to get in a boat without a life jacket. However, you might not know about one hazard that the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association calls the invisible drowning risk. Water in marinas, lakes and near your boat can become electrified when current is leaking from a power source, which can pose a deadly hazard to you and your family members.

Freshwater presents the most risk for electric shock, because electricity is conducted through freshwater more easily than saltwater. If you come into contact with electrified water, the effects can be as mild as a tingling sensation or as severe as burns and unconsciousness. Electricity can cause your muscles to seize, which may cause drowning even in seasoned swimmers, while their family members have no idea of the danger their loved one is in.

Instruct your family members not to swim in marinas, where electrical current may leak from docks without warning. If you feel tingling in the water, swim away from the dock or boat and warn others not to jump in the water. Use plastic or wooden ladders on your boat and dock, instead of metal ones. Regularly inspect the electrical components on your boat and at the marina and make repairs to faulty wiring immediately.

Understanding and addressing common boating risks can help you avoid a tragedy. Our page on maritime injuries explains what to do next if you are injured due to someone else’s negligence.

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