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Top 5 Electrical Safety Tips While Boating

While boating along the Allegheny, Ohio and Monongahela Rivers this summer, your life jacket isn’t the only thing you should be concerned about. The proper precautions should be taken when having lights, fans and even playing music on board. Be sure to follow these top five electrical safety tips while onboard your boat.

Power lines – While boating near rural areas and near land, always look overhead for power lines. There should be 10 feet between the mast and the power lines. Always know the height of the mast of your boat before sailing. It is also very important to be aware of high tides that can bring you closer to power lines than usual.

Outlets – All outlets on the boat should be GFCI outlets. Since there is plenty of water around, the GFCI outlet will sense if there is a leak and cut power immediately. This will prevent any unwanted electrical shocks and dangerous situations.

Extension cords – You should use extension cords as you do in your home, very seldom and only as a temporary solution. Extension cords are a safety hazard and can create an extremely dangerous situation, especially on a boat. Be sure to only use UL-Marine Listed powers cords when using electricity on the water.

Avoid swimming – To avoid electrical shocks and drowning, never swim near a marina or near a running boat. The chance of electric shocks can be great and extremely deadly.

Inspections – Just like your house, your boat should have an electrical inspection conducted annually. Since the boat is always around water it is important that all GFCI and ELCI outlets are working properly. Your circuit breaker during the inspection should not be neglected – if any emergency were to occur, you’d want to be able to successfully cut all power to the boat.