JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As temperatures climb over the summer, it’s only natural for Floridians to look for ways to cool down, either by taking a ride on the boat or a dip in the pool.
But there’s a hidden danger you might not know about: the potential for electrical shock.
That’s why State Fire Marshal and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is warning Floridians and visitors alike about taking extra care around water, whether they’re heading to the pool or marina.
"Florida’s beautiful weather allows residents and visitors to enjoy activities like boating and swimming year-round, and you must remember to beware of electrical hazards in and around water," he said.
Patronis said people stunned by an electrical shock can drown before they know what’s happening. It can happen in swimming pools, hot tubs, marinas, and boat ramps – even near a running boat.
His office has released a list of safety tips that can help keep your loved ones safe in the sun:
- Practice safe swimming. Avoid swimming near marinas, docks, boat ramps or idling boats, otherwise bad wiring on the boat or marina could result in an electrical shock.
- Keep up with boat maintenance. Get your boat inspected annually by a qualified marine technician to make sure the electrical system is safe and meets required standards.
- Don’t forget to check the docks. It’s recommended that you install ground fault circuit interrupters and equipment leakage circuit interrupters if you haven’t already done so.
- Keep tabs on your pools and spas. Get your electrical system for your pools or tubs inspected by a qualified electrician. Know how to switch off the power in an emergency.
Will Dahlstrom, the dock master at River City Brewing Company, knows the water like the back of his hand. He's constantly warning people to be careful.
"Some of the boaters that come here they'll want to hang their feet off the side of the boat here at the marina or hang their feet off the dock," he said. "It's really not that great of an idea."
Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters, said getting a certified electrician is key when it comes to wiring any sort of electrical systems.
"They understand how to ground it properly and how to protect it so that's the most important part," he said.