A 21-year-old Illinois man died earlier this week after being shocked when touching a dock ladder at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.
Unfortunately this isn't an unusual occurrence, with several cases each year at lakes, rivers, and marinas across the U.S., according to the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association.
Local electricians point to outdated, unsafe methods of running electricity to docks as the biggest cause of these tragedies. In most cases, the power running to docks isn't properly grounded.
Steve Edgar, a local electrician for 30 years, says this is one of the most overlooked hazards he sees when it comes to electrical safety.
"People in a responsible position need to understand that this protection needs to be in place and needs to be monitored for the safety of the people who are in the water," Edgar said. "They have to understand that this not only can happen, but does happen."
Edgar says it's critical that up-to-date equipment is installed by experts, that includes a ground fault circuit interrupters. It's a fast acting circuit breaker designed to shut off electric power quickly in the event of a ground fault.
"When electricity is installed around water, it needs to be done by a professional who knows the code, so that it can be installed professionally and then it needs to be monitored," Edgar said.
Quincy Park District officials say all publicly rented dock spaces at the Art Keller Marina have professionally installed electricity. Owners of private spaces at the Quincy Marina are responsible for their own electricity.
The Boat Owners' Association says you should never swim within 100 yards of a dock using electrical power. Swimming is not allowed in or around the Art Keller Marina at Quinsippi Island.