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Boat US Report

BoatuslogoIs it Drowning, or Electric Shock Drowning?

What You Need to Know to Help Save a Life

No matter how you participate in the boating lifestyle, whenever you begin a new day on the water there is always the chance of something going wrong. My industry friend, Boat US’s Scott Croft, who has sent along relevant and interesting postings in the past, has forwarded this one to me in order that I might share it with you. It is a timely read and one that all of us should pay attention to. Be safe. -Capt. Ken

While standing at the end of your boat dock, you see a person struggling in the water. Do you recognize that the person is drowning, or is something else going on? And what should you do? Doing the right thing could help save someone else’s life, and might keep you from losing yours.

Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) occurs when faulty dock or boat wiring causes electricity (alternating current or “AC” power) to enter fresh water and pass through a swimmer. The swimmer does not need to be touching the bottom, a boat or dock structure, and even minute amounts of electricity can be incapacitating. As more light is shed on this danger, it is likely that some ESD fatalities have been misidentified as drowning, preventing awareness of this summertime boating danger. The risk of ESD is greatest in fresh or brackish waters, so some areas such as estuaries or rivers may only be in the danger zone after heavy rains. In saltwater, electric current takes the path of least resistance, bypassing swimmers.

Unlike a drowning swimmer, who typically can’t yell out for help because their mouth is mostly underwater, an ESD victim is often confused about what is happening to them, may be able to shout, and will feel numbness, tingling, pain and paralysis. A drowning victim often looks “playful”, moving their arms in a ladder climbing fashion, while an Electric Shock Drowning victim looks “distressed” and may simply roll on their back – if wearing a life jacket – or roll face down into the water, totally unresponsive.

A typical drowning can take as up to a minute for an adult or just 20 seconds for a child, with the victim’s arms moving in a climbing-a-ladder type motion, taking quick gulps of air, with the mouth below the water much of the time. ESD victims can be instantly paralyzed and not move at all.

Innocent enough? But is there electricity in the water? Boaters and parents need to know about Electric Shock Drowning, and what to do to save a life. Photo Credit: Brian Fitzgerald

Innocent enough? But is there electricity in the water? Boaters and parents need to know about Electric Shock Drowning, and what to do to save a life. Photo Credit: Brian Fitzgerald

So what do you need to do for both cases? Don’t jump in the water – call 911, and follow the “Reach, throw, row, but don’t go” mantra. Only a professional lifeguard has the training to handle a drowning victim. Far too often, news reports show well-intentioned rescuers increase the fatality count. If the problem is ESD – which may not be abundantly clear – going in the water could kill you.

Whether the person is drowning or suffering from ESD, use an oar, boat hook or throw a floatation device, or get into a boat and try to reach the person from there. Do everything you can – tossing a line, throwing life jackets, grabbing a nearby dinghy – but don’t go into the water yourself. Once you have retrieved the person, start CPR if there is no pulse. Automated Electrical Defibrillators are also becoming more common – just make sure the victim’s chest is dry.

For more information, parents, dock owners, boaters, and marina and boat club operators can go to the Boat Owners Association of The United States’ Electric Shock Drowning Resource Center at www.BoatUS.com/seaworthy/ESD.

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About BoatUS:

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half-million members with government representation, services such as 24-hour dispatch, on water boat towing as well as roadside assistance for boat trailers and tow vehicles, feature-packed boat insurance programs, money-saving benefits including marina and service discounts, and vital information that improves recreational boating. Its member-funded BoatUS Foundation is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating and offers a range of boating safety courses – including 33 free state courses – that can be found at BoatUS.org/courses.

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2014 in BoatUS Report

 

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BoatUS Report

BoatUS New Sponsor of Vessel Safety Check Program

The US Coast Guard and US Power Squadrons expect to complete over 200,000 voluntary Vessel Safety Checks this year. The no-cost, no-risk courtesy inspections, done at boat ramps, marinas and boat clubs, have ensured the safety of thousands of lives. Now, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has stepped in to sponsor this important boating safety program for the next three years.

“A vessel safety check is done as a courtesy and with no risk to the boater – you won’t be in trouble if discrepancies are found,” said BoatUS Foundation Assistant Director of Boating Safety Ted Sensenbrenner. “What it will do is point out, in a very friendly manner, where you can improve your boat’s safety and help educate you on the value of recreational boating safety. Simply put, having a Vessel Safety Check done on your boat at the beginning of the boating season will help prevent bad things from happening and ensures that if something does occur, you’re prepared.”

If you are ever stopped by law enforcement, the Vessel Safety Check program can also help prevent citations by ensuring your boat meets federal, state and local safety equipment requirements, such as the proper display of registration numbers and documentation.

It also points out both the required and recommended items to have aboard, such as fire extinguishers, life jackets, distress signals, first aid kits, and engine spark arrestors, and also helps provide a better understanding on the care and use of this critical equipment. Additional items covered include the use of local navigation charts, float plans, safe refueling, ventilation, marine heads, weather, sea conditions, survival tips and more.

To find a US Coast Guard Auxiliary or US Power Squadron Vessel Safety Check examiner near you, go to www.safetyseal.net/GetVSC. A “Virtual” Vessel Safety Inspection that boaters can use to self-inspect their boat can be found by going to www.safetyseal.net/what_is_vsc.asp. For a look at some of the top reasons why a boat may fail a courtesy Vessel Safety Inspection, go to www.safetyseal.net/vsc_stats.asp.

About BoatUS: Boat Owners Association of The United States is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half-million members with government representation, services such as 24-hour on-the-water boat towing as well as roadside assistance for boat trailers and tow vehicles, specialized boat insurance programs, money saving benefits that include marina and shopping discounts, and vital information that improves the boating, fishing and sailing lifestyle. Its member-funded BoatUS Foundation is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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