Authorities at the Lake of the Ozarks are urging property owners on the Lake to have regular inspections done of their docks, particularly for electrical safety.
Three people have been electrocuted at the Lake in the last week and three others were shocked in May but were pulled from the water and survived.
Ameren owns property around the Lake and issues permits for new docks. Shoreline Manager Jeff Green says his company hears about cases of electricity in the water each year, but it’s not what he calls common.
“I think this is a somewhat unusual circumstance that accumulated with a lot of people here at the Lake, enjoying the Lake. It’s a hot summer so we have lots of people here right now. This is a terrible, tragic occurrence.”
Green says those who do feel electricity in the water generally want to swim toward a dock. “That’s probably not the best thing to do because if the dock is energized you actually want to swim away from that dock, and certainly disconnect the power immediately and call one of the local fire districts and have them come out and take a look at it, or a qualified electrician.”
There are six fire protection districts around the Lake that participate in regulations adopted in 2006 of how electrical installations are supposed to be done. Green says those districts can be called to conduct electrical safety inspections as well as electricians.
Green says the only time an electrical safety inspection is required is when a boat dock permit is issued. Once that initial inspection is done, a dock owner could potentially never have another one done, but Green says they should. “It’s each individual dock owner’s responsibility to make sure that they keep their dock electrically safe and that almost demands some kind of inspection.”
See more about electrical safety with docks on Ameren’s website.