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What is electric shock drowning?

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2019 | Sports And Recreation Law

In the summer, Colorado has a lot of lakes and rivers and other bodies of fresh water that both residents of the Denver area and visitors love to enjoy in the warmer weather of summer. People love to swim or wade in the water, and they may also enjoy various boating activities.

Unfortunately, swimming and boating do not always mix well at all. Obviously, a boat crashing in to a swimmer can be disastrous. However, there is also a hidden hazard that many may not think of right away.

This hazard is referred to as electric shock drowning. As many people may know, water conducts electricity. For scientific reasons, the human body is more prone to an electric shock when in freshwater, like what is found in Colorado, than when in the salty waters of the ocean or the coast.

Boats, marinas and the like have to have electricity to operate. Normally, the electric current is properly grounded and will stay within the boat or marina. However, if there is something wrong with the electrical equipment, then the current may leak out in to the open water.

In the most extreme cases, the current itself can kill an unsuspecting swimmer who gets too close to the live current. However, even if the electrical shock does not kill the victim, it can injure or paralyze him or her to the point where he or she can no longer swim and thus drowns.

To some extent, it is up to marinas and individual boat owners to keep their equipment in good working order and thus prevent electric shock drowning and other accidents. Should a marina, recreational area or other businesses be accused of causing an electric shock drowning, it may be important to consult with a Colorado attorney experienced in sports and recreation law.