Teens drowns after entering electrified pool; officials warn of electric shock drowning dangers

Teens drowns after entering electrified pool; officials warn of electric shock drowning dangers
(Source: WMBF News)
(Source: WMBF News)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - There's a serious danger possibly in the water. Just last weekend a teenager in North Carolina died from what's known as electric shock drowning. It's rare and something that usually happens around docks and marinas, but can happen in pools.

There's no way to tell the water is electrified.  It's silent, odorless and invisible.  Electric shock drowning is the result of a person becoming paralyzed by electric currents in the water.  If the current is high enough, a person can be electrocuted.

It's caused when electricity leaks from a boat or dock into the water, usually by faulty electrical cords and improper grounding, according the the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association.  The association said it only takes 1/50th of the current used by a 60-watt light bulb to cause paralysis in the water.

Many ESD deaths are undocumented because it requires a witness or death investigation to determine.  ESD deaths can also be mistaken as intoxication or cramping.

The best way to prevent ESD from happening to you and your loved ones is by not swimming in marinas and around docks.

Sherry Harrelson is the manager at Osprey Marina and Grill in Socastee, S.C.  She said the marina enforces a 'no swimming' rule and recognizes how common ESD can be if you're not careful.

"Crews walks up and down the docks and checks the line to the boats before a storm and of course we're not here during the storm, but after the storm…we come back here and check to make sure there are no lines in the water," Harrelson said.

She added ESD, for her, is a risk as equal to snakes and alligators around the docks.

Other ways to prevent ESD are to invent in an electric shock detector for your boat slip.  The association also recommends hiring a certified boat electrician to check out your chords and wires.

If you see someone you think might be experiencing ESD, don't jump in the water after them or you'll fall victim.  Shut the power off, throw a life raft and call 911.

Click here to go the the Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association's website for more information.

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