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Electric Shock Drowning

Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) is caused by an electric current passing through the body while immersed in water; the shock causes skeletal muscular paralysis and eventually results in drowning.

Preventing Electric Shock Drowning

  1. Never swim in or near marinas, docks, or boatyards. ESD deaths typically occur near marinas and docks, with the electricity originating from wiring in docks or boats connected to a power supply.
  2. Have your boat regularly inspected by an electrician trained in American Boat and Yacht Council standards.
  3. Inform others about ESD. Many ESD drowning deaths are written off as standard drownings caused by cramps, intoxication, etc. Telling others about the danger or requesting “No Swimming” signage to be posted at your local marina could save lives.

For more information, see the ESD Prevention Association website.

Additional Resources