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Beware of swimming around docks and boats

The recent tragic death of a teen in Alabama illustrates a danger faced by many Florida residents as well. The 15-year-old cheerleader jumped into a lake for a dip after picnicking nearby.

But she never emerged from the water, and authorities postulate that she drowned due to leaking electricity into the water from boats docked where she entered the water.

According to media reports, there are hidden dangers lurking beside boats, marinas and freshwater docks because of the plethora of devices and appliances in and on boats. They all require electricity, but if the devices are improperly installed and maintained, electricity leaches out into the water. This poses a life-threatening shock danger to all who comes near the electrical current.

Electricity seeping into fresh water seeks a more stable conductor, and a human body is often it. There is likely no warning that the body of water is electrified, as it is safe until an appliance is plugged in or turned on, which emits the charge into the water.

Safety guidelines exist for regulating electrical equipment near docks and on boats, but there are still ways electricity can leak into bodies of water, including malfunctioning grounding systems. improper installation and fraying wires.

To keep swimmers safe and avoid liability, here are some tips:

-- Don't swim in the hundred yards surrounding marinas, docks and boatyards.

-- Test boats to ensure they aren't leaking electricity.

-- Don't use household extension cords to provide electricity to boats at the dock.

-- Only employ qualified electricians to do any electrical work on docks and boats.

If you are shocked while in the water around boats or docks, you might have a cause of action for a premises liability claim.

Source: Independent Journal,Teens Jump into Water Not Knowing That Boats Docked Nearby Are Why One of Them Doesn't Come Back Up, Prudence Hill, April 28, 2016

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