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Arizona lake 'electrocution incident'

PaPaG

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OK here is a question for the Electricians out there. If there is a Electric current at a dock and in the water at that dock how far can that current travel? lets say a dock is 500 feet away from where this happened would the current travel all the way to the entire area or just in the immediate area of the breech or does it get dispersed as the distance gets further....
 

lbhsbz

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OK here is a question for the Electricians out there. If there is a Electric current at a dock and in the water at that dock how far can that current travel? lets say a dock is 500 feet away from where this happened would the current travel all the way to the entire area or just in the immediate area of the breech or does it get dispersed as the distance gets further....
I’m not sure if there is an answer to this question. Amount of current, type of fault, and water chemistry very likely plays a significant roll. It has to go away at some point, which is why most marinas simply have rules about “no swimming in the marina”. Of course...the divers that do underwater cleaning, etc...can’t be rolling the dice every time they jump in...so there must be some of “rule”.
 

boatpi

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Anyone remember the same issue at Havasu Palms gas dock a few years ago, not sure if anyone died.
 

cofooter

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A childhood friend/neighbor and his buddy passed away due to the same thing when they jumped into the river near a gas dock in the early 70's.
 
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mesquito_creek

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If you saw the un-permitted DIY make shift outdoor living spaces built in Lake Pleasant by the marina members, you would think twice about swimming off the slips... Multiple refrigerators, and overhead lighting etc for the "I am going to win the tiki bar contest" going on there is somewhat concerning. I can't see the dock designed to deliver 2 or 3 times the load on the walkways in addition to the shore power circuits. I am sure the "neutral is the same as ground" wiring that works somewhat without issue on land has major consequences built on a metal dock floating on water....
 

ONE-A-DAY

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So GFI's wouldnt work in this situation, assuming they were used.
 

Wedgy

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Sad to hear, RIP, Godspeed.

The experience of First Aid CPR, required training by Certain Industries, School employees, Teachers, especially the recertification required gives invaluable knowledge. With the practice of recertification you will develop skills that become automatic when needed, along with the Medical skills. Training kicks in and you are able to take control without panic, remain calm and pass that along to patients, other persons involved. No worries.

First Aid, CPR, is a skill and training every adult should have. ESD and Basic skills to deal with electrical shock should be added to the training.

Be Safe! Pay attention to what's going on all around you.
 

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Never swim by the water pumps along the river in Needles or any pump on any river. This is the reason why, electric shock. I'm sure those are running 480 volts, if not more.
 

PlanB

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One of the reasons we bought a lift was electrolysis in the Marina. We have had a slip there for a long time, and a few years ago we noticed an issue with the toon. This was after the yacht club boat did a remodel on their kitchen. I placed large anodes off of the dock on the four corners of our slip, and the ones closest to the yacht club boat were getting eaten at a much fast pace than the ones further away. Our bottom cleaner was always checking cords for grounding issues when he was down there. I am convinced the yacht club boat is bleeding electricity into the water, and I am sure they are not the only boat doing so. Swimming around electrical sources is kind of sketchy.
 
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RVR SWPR

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No doubt a wake,not necessarily a wake board boat,just a wake got these guys on that dock.
 

wallnutz

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I have been shocked in the water twice, and once was at Lake Pleasant but at the other marina. It wasn't a strong shock either time, kind of like sticking your tongue on a 9volt battery. The first time was at the Keys in Parker. We rented a place about 5 or 6 years ago. I jumped in when one of the kids dropped something over the side and when I swam back over by the back of the boat I could feel it at the ends of my fingers and toes. Nothing to strong and I didn't even think about it being a shock. When we pulled the boat out to go home I noticed the zinc on my jack plate was almost all gone. It's when I was telling someone about it, they told me I was being electrically shocked. That also explains the zinc being ate away by electrolysis.
At Lake Pleasant I jumped in when a ladies dog fell in and couldn't get back out. I would never normally swim in an area like that. It felt the same way at my fingertips and toes.
 

RiverDave

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I have been shocked in the water twice, and once was at Lake Pleasant but at the other marina. It wasn't a strong shock either time, kind of like sticking your tongue on a 9volt battery. The first time was at the Keys in Parker. We rented a place about 5 or 6 years ago. I jumped in when one of the kids dropped something over the side and when I swam back over by the back of the boat I could feel it at the ends of my fingers and toes. Nothing to strong and I didn't even think about it being a shock. When we pulled the boat out to go home I noticed the zinc on my jack plate was almost all gone. It's when I was telling someone about it, they told me I was being electrically shocked. That also explains the zinc being ate away by electrolysis.
At Lake Pleasant I jumped in when a ladies dog fell in and couldn't get back out. I would never normally swim in an area like that. It felt the same way at my fingertips and toes.
That is crazy.. in all the years I have spent in the keys it was well known there was electrical in the water because it strips annodizing pretty quick..

But I have never “felt” it before?

Scary shit, I have never heard about not swimming around gas docks before this thread either.

Why gas docks? Or is it marinas in general?
 

cofooter

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That is crazy.. in all the years I have spent in the keys it was well known there was electrical in the water because it strips annodizing pretty quick..

But I have never “felt” it before?

Scary shit, I have never heard about not swimming around gas docks before this thread either.

Why gas docks? Or is it marinas in general?
It more anywhere where there is electrical close the the water where the circuit may be compromised, by age, lack of maintenance, bad design, etc.............

and in the Ozarks where Ruth Langmore lives.
 
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BoatCop

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It most often happens in marinas with 110 vac shore power to boats. Because of faulty wiring, either on the boats or docks, cross connections of the 110 circuit and 12v circuit, or most often grounds. Low voltage electricity will radiate from underwater appendages - shafts, lower units, rudder, etc. The current isn't enough to kill a person, like you would expect from "electrocution", but in "stuns" the person, locking up muscles, kind of like a TASER, but without the "punch". 110v must be present. It doesn't occur where there is only the boat's 12v present.

A person swimming nearby would cross into the zone near the current leak, and muscles tense up, paralyzing the swimmer. They would sink to the bottom or, in deeper water, fall below the current zone, recovering from the "shock", they would immediately try to surface, swimming right back into the zone, repeating the process, kind of yo-yo-ing under the water, until they eventually drown. Most victims show no indication of electrical wounds or other shock effects, but all have water in the lungs from the drowning.

It's believed that Dennis Wilson, of the Beach Boys, drowned in this fashion off of his yacht in Marina Del Rey. But it can't be confirmed, as we didn't know enough about this phenomenon back in 1983, and improvements on and around the docks since then, haven't been able to test that theory.

Shore-Power-Diagram-opm.jpg
 

77charger

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Happens more than you think. I won’t ever jump off to cool off in a marina unless I had a life jacket on. Nor would I let my kids swim in a marina with power.
 

Boat Bling

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A friend keeps his boat slipped at Scorpion Bay. Thankfully he wasn't there but knows several who were. Apparently a live power line went into the water from a houseboat.

Just like @BoatCop said, someone in the water became distressed and others jumped in to help and they all started struggling.

It's an all too common incident especially around houseboats and something that's always in the back of my mind while swimming in a marina. Seems like a nasty common theme is multiple victims in these scenarios. Nobody is thinking about electricity, just a struggling swimmer that needs help. I'd probably jump in too.

-Zack
 

Mandelon

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If there was 110 Volt line voltage in the water from the generator... or if it was docked where there is electricity on the dock.
 

Shlbyntro

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If there was 110 Volt line voltage in the water from the generator... or if it was docked where there is electricity on the dock.
Not typically. In a generator circuit on a boat, the neutral and ground leads are literally tied together at the generator. Because while running on a generator, the electrical circuitry is a closed loop and does not rely on an earth ground to complete the voltage loop. The houseboat will not put AC voltage out into the water if it is not plugged in and is running on the generator as any leaked voltage is simply returned to the generator.

It's important to note that bad wiring does not need to be present for voltage to be leaked into the water at a marina where boats are plugged in. It could be something as simple as an appliance internally leaking voltage to its ground link and a loose or dirty shorepower cable.

As a general rule of thumb, if you are closer to any source of electricity in the water (where that electricity is coming from land) than that source is to land, whether it be the lake bed or shore; then you are in the danger zone.
 

farmo83

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Growing up at the lake house all us kids(80s and 90s time frame) would swim off the pier by a submerged water pump. We all knew if you swam right by the pier or dove to deep the water would sting like hell. The adults usually swam over by a different pier. About 2 years ago that came up in conversation with my uncle who is a 40 year electrician and he was appaled we never mentioned this. They went and asked my cousin and sister as well. The next day he put in some kind of gfi that would trip with a few miliamps if I remember correctly. We all swam their for years. Talk about lucky.
 

Melloyellovector

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Have a buddy that did under water repairs at Disneyland.
The old submarine ride had major elec issues under water for many many years. They all knew when they were near junction boxes by the tingling action. As in swim away before it turns to paralyzing action, funny not funny
Accident waiting to happen
If I recall still existed after remodel to little Nemo or what ever the hell the changed it to.
 

77charger

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Not typically. In a generator circuit on a boat, the neutral and ground leads are literally tied together at the generator. Because while running on a generator, the electrical circuitry is a closed loop and does not rely on an earth ground to complete the voltage loop. The houseboat will not put AC voltage out into the water if it is not plugged in and is running on the generator as any leaked voltage is simply returned to the generator.

It's important to note that bad wiring does not need to be present for voltage to be leaked into the water at a marina where boats are plugged in. It could be something as simple as an appliance internally leaking voltage to its ground link and a loose or dirty shorepower cable.

As a general rule of thumb, if you are closer to any source of electricity in the water (where that electricity is coming from land) than that source is to land, whether it be the lake bed or shore; then you are in the danger zone.
there was a drownig at powell a while back and it involved a houseboat that was beached in a cove running a generator.
 

Brobee

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So GFI's wouldnt work in this situation, assuming they were used.
I don’t know if anyone answered you but, “Any current returning to its source through the water will create a slight but detectable difference between the amount of current traveling to the boat and returning from it through the shore power cables. Ground Fault Protection (GFP) devices, like Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) required in bathrooms ashore, are designed to detect differences measured in milliamps and to shut down the electricity within a fraction of a second. If the circuit does not have one, then electricity will continue to flow into the water.”


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Shlbyntro

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there was a drownig at powell a while back and it involved a houseboat that was beached in a cove running a generator.
I'd be more inclined to believe that one had something to do with CO1 vs electricity. I'd like to read about it if you know where to find any articles or reports about it though.
 

CarolynandBob

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OK here is a question for the Electricians out there. If there is a Electric current at a dock and in the water at that dock how far can that current travel? lets say a dock is 500 feet away from where this happened would the current travel all the way to the entire area or just in the immediate area of the breech or does it get dispersed as the distance gets further....
All of the marinas here on Kentucky Lake say no swimming within 100 ft of the dock, so I am assuming that the current can travel something less than 100 ft.
 

77charger

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I'd be more inclined to believe that one had something to do with CO1 vs electricity. I'd like to read about it if you know where to find any articles or reports about it though.
i do remember the one with c02 but pretty darn sure there was one eith ESD. I read up on it as it was new to me a few years ago and it’s scary stuff in marinas I may be wrong and can’t remember but also thought it was mention that say if a boats electrical had a bad ground or problem that the stray current is most likely to be between the shore and the boat?? As it try’s to find ground first? Knowing salt water is a better conductor I definitely won’t swim in a harbor.
 

BUSTI

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Never enter the water around any dock with power. This actually happens more than anyone thinks.

Last December I was at a Mike Holt conference and during the grounding and bonding portion he pressed IHO power should never be brought to a dock. There is almost no effective way to to maintain the grounding system on the dock. Its too dangerous.
 

Taboma

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Never enter the water around any dock with power. This actually happens more than anyone thinks.

Last December I was at a Mike Holt conference and during the grounding and bonding portion he pressed IHO power should never be brought to a dock. There is almost no effective way to to maintain the grounding system on the dock. Its too dangerous.
I can't even wrap my mind around the potential for chaos breaking out at a Mike Holt Conference. o_O Was a Chair Toss competition part of the festivities ? 😂
 

NoOtherWay

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My parents have a small houseboat in a marina on a lake in central Ca. The boat is about 150 yards away from the gas dock. Only power in the marina is at the gas dock/ marina store, There is no power on the docks to the boats.

Should this be a concern if swimming in the water? Again, about 150 yards away from gas dock.
 

Shlbyntro

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My parents have a small houseboat in a marina on a lake in central Ca. The boat is about 150 yards away from the gas dock. Only power in the marina is at the gas dock/ marina store, There is no power on the docks to the boats.

Should this be a concern if swimming in the water? Again, about 150 yards away from gas dock.
How close is the gas dock to shore/ how deep is the water beneath it?

I would suspect that you would be ok at that kind of distance, when you are being shocked underwater the electricity is just trying to find the easiest path to ground and our bodies conduct electricity better than water.

So say if the gas dock is in 20ft of water and there is no shorepower hookups or outlets whatsoever at your dock, any leaked voltage from the gas dock is going to find it's way to a ground source far before crossing 150yards of water
 
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BoatCop

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there was a drownig at powell a while back and it involved a houseboat that was beached in a cove running a generator.
This was likely Carbon Monoxide. House boat generators used to have their exhaust exiting from the stern, under a large swim-step. The platform created a really cool "cave" that's perfect for kids to play in and under. Several kids "drowned" at Powell, until someone made the connection between the generator exhaust and the "drowning". They went back 20 years, re-investigating drownings, even exhuming several bodies to check for CO. They estimated that dozens of deaths were actually CO poisoning, rather than simple drowning, even connecting some unexplained deaths in the interior of the houseboat cabin, to CO. All houseboats were retrofitted with generator exhaust piping run to the upper deck of the houseboat.
 

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Yikes.


Sheriff's Office: Modified boat electrical system caused fatal drownings of 2 brothers in Lake Pleasant
Alana Minkler
Arizona Republic

Investigators with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office determined that two brothers who drowned at Lake Pleasant on Sunday intentionally bypassed electrical safety features and improperly modified the electrical connection system, officials said.
MCSO officials said Michael Miller, 50, and 53-year-old Timothy Miller drowned in the lake after Michael jumped into the water to save his brother while he was being electrocuted in the water.
Officials shut down electricity to the dock A at Scorpion Bay Marina following the incident, allowing for Lake Patrol detectives and divers to safely recover the bodies and inspect the source of electricity, MCSO spokeswoman Norma Gutierrez said in a statement.
MCSO attempted to identify the source of the electricity on Monday alongside the Peoria electrical inspector and an electrician specializing in marina construction, Gutierrez said.
They first determined the electrical infrastructure at Scorpion Bay Marina’s was safe and operating correctly. Investigators then conducted a series of tests that Gutierrez said "ultimately recreated the circumstances which placed electrical voltage into the water."
They found that the victims' boat had an electrical system that was "not compatible with the marina’s receptacle," Gutierrez said.
"Electrical safety features were bypassed by the intentional and improper modification of the boat’s electrical connection system," Gutierrez said. "This resulted in electricity being discharged into the water around the swim platform, which is where the victims entered the water."
She noted the deaths remained under investigation on Wednesday.

Scorpion Bay Marina’s electrical system is operating safely, according to MCSO. Gutierrez urged the public to consider the following safety precautions:
  • Don't use your own 120-volt AC electrical work on a boat.
  • Don't hire an electrician who is not familiar with American Boat and Yacht Council standards.
  • Don't use common household extension cords for providing shore power to your boat.
  • Use and encourage other boaters to use shore power cords built to UL standards.
  • Have your boat tested once a year to see if it is leaking electricity.
  • Avoid swimming within 100 yards of any freshwater marina.
 
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