What are the mitigation strategies to reduce electric shock drowning hazards?

June 18, 2024

by Nils Deacon, Manager, Inspections and Rating Services

NFPA 303 (Fire Protection Standard for Marinas and Boatyards) and ESDPA (Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association) guidelines apply to marinas, dock owners, and boat owners / operators to help prevent electric shock drowning hazard.

They include:

  • Have all electric fixtures installed and maintained in accordance with National Fire Protection Association Standard NFPA 303 and the National Electrical Code 72.
  • Per the NFPA, install GFCI’S (ground fault circuit interrupters) on all shore power pedestals and all marina wiring circuits.
  • Post “No Swimming – Electric Danger” signs around docks.
  • Boat owners should have their boats inspected by electricians or technicians with a current American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) electrical certification. This should be done on a yearly basis to be sure they are not leaking electricity into the water.
  • Be sure that Equipment Leakage Circuit Interrupters (ELCI’s) are installed on their boats and do monthly checks to be sure they are working properly.
  • Boat operators should only use UL shore power cords designed specifically for marine environments.
  • Boat owners / operators should not allow swimming from or around their docked boats, especially if plugged into onshore electric power.

DISCLAIMER: This information reflects the interpretation of MSO, Inc. with regard to NFPA Standards and Codes and other code sources. It does not represent these code’s official position on the items discussed.

Standard marina electric power pedestal