DNR warns boaters about dangers of electric shock in the water

Posted at 10:16 PM, Jun 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-20 22:16:52-04

(WXYZ) — Drew Jackson, a slip holder at the Jefferson Marina in St. Claire Shores, never used to have to ditch his socks and shoes to board his own boat.

“I’ve been doing it for about a week now," Jackson told 7 Action News. "It got to the point where it was just right at the dock level and over the past week it’s gotten two or three inches higher."

They’re now building docks on top of docks at the Jefferson Marina, due to the high water level.

Higher than normal water level has Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources reminding boaters about Electric Shock Drowning, or ESD.

It can happen if you jump into the water near a boat or a dock powered by electricity. Stray voltage can come from bad wiring or devices not meant for boats, and the result can be deadly.

“The marina is excellent about keeping everybody safe and letting everybody know when the power’s off," said Jefferson slip holder Bobby Long. "The power’s off now."

The best way to prevent ESD is not entering the water too close to a boat or dock powered by electricity.

If you think someone’s been shocked:

  • Don’t jump in… as you could become a victim too.
  • Throw them a life ring
  • Make sure to turn off the shore power connection
  • Call 911

“I’m definitely going to talk to my kids this week about it because all of my grandchildren go out," said boater Cherly Mains. "It only takes a second for something like that to happen."

Albert Marks II knows the dangers all too well from jet skiing.

“I actually felt like I was shocked," Marks said. "And that was several years ago, so I’m very careful around the water. I make sure that I don’t have my power turned on to my boat and I also make sure that I am wearing rubber boots whenever I am walking on the docks.”

Click here for safety advice from the DNR:,4570,7-350-79119_79144_80644---,00.html