Electric safety is an essential part of boating safety but can be often overlooked. Northeastern REMC would like to remind boaters that water and electricity are a deadly combination and ensure that electrical safety is included in your boat's checklist.
"It's important to stay away from all electricity sources when you're in a boat. This includes power lines and anything that can produce electricity," said Jared Boggs, Safety Coordinator at Northeastern REMC. "Water is a good conductor of electricity. Even when you're on a boat, electricity still tries to reach the ground below and all around the water."
Boaters should constantly be aware of the location of power lines. That means paying close attention when raising or lowering the boat's mast or spar and ensuring drying sails and sheet lines don't blow into power lines.
"When docking your boat, enlist the help of another person to help guide you at least 10 feet away from all power lines," Boggs added.
Other important safety tips for boating:
• While on the water, watch for signs that indicate where underwater utility lines are located. Don't anchor your boat near them.
• When fishing, check for overhead power lines before casting your line.
• If your boat accidentally comes in contact with a power line, whatever you do, don't jump in the water. Stay on board, and don't touch anything made of metal. Don't leave the boat until it has moved away from the power line.
• If you notice a tingling sensation while swimming, the water could be electrified. Get out quickly, avoiding metal objects like ladders.
• Equipment leakage circuit interrupters protect swimmers nearby from potential electrical leakage into the water around your boat. Consider installing them on your boat.
Periodically have a professional marine electrician inspect your boat's electrical system. It should meet local and state safety codes and standards. Make sure the boat's AC outlets are three-prong. All electrical connections should be in a panel box to avoid contact. Install ground fault circuit interrupters on your boat and dock. When using electricity near water, use portable GFCIs labeled "UL-Marine Listed." Test all GFCIs once a month.
For more safety tips, whether you're on land or on water, visit our blog at nremc.com/blog.