What you need to know about 'electric shock drowning'

- Lake season has arrived and local fire departments have a new warning for boaters as they hit the water.

"It's something you can't take lightly," said Electrician and MI Electric President Marc Lovisa.

With lake season here, dock inspections are now on the rise.

"Beginning of March or April, we get two to three calls a week regarding docks," Lovisa said.

The Huntersville Fire Department said a recent nationwide trend of drownings as a result of electrocutions has them warning residents before they hit the water.

"We haven't had anything like that in Huntersville, but the best offense is a good defense," said Huntersville Fire Spokesman William Suthard. "We wanted to put that out and warn people that we want everyone to make sure docks are in good working order, that they're safe, and electricians check the docks to make sure."

"I see a lot of docks that are very unsafe," said Lovisa. "We see covers missing, wires draping almost touching the water, old plugs that are corroded and oxidized. It's very dangerous," he said. 

Lovisa said docks should be inspected at least every two years.

"It's something that needs to be looked into more and enforced more," he explained.

In terms of meeting code, Lovisa said it's important residents with docks have a ground fault circuit interrupter, also known as a GFCI, designed to trip and kill the power to the plug instantly if water is present.

Officials also want to warn people you don't necessarily have to be near the source of power to be impacted.

"It can be distributed throughout the water for 10, 15, 20 feet even," added Lovisa.

Officials said if you have a dock that needs to be inspected, make an appointment with an electrician immediately.

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