TENNESSEE VALLEY, Ala. (WHNT) – The Priceville community continues to mourn the loss of a teen who drowned at Smith Lake on Saturday. Carmen Elizabeth Johnson, 15, drowned while swimming off a dock at a residence near Double Springs in Winston County.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Marin Patrol Division continues to investigate the incident, but family members say Johnson had been electrocuted in the water while swimming near a boat dock.
For many, warmer weather is synonymous with water-related fun, but boat docks can house a slew of electrical hazards. Both boat operators and swimmers need to understand the risks.
Safe electricity advocates say all electrical installations around waterways should be inspected at least once per year. All docks should also have GFCI breakers installed on each electrical receptacle. Experts say they should be inspected monthly.
They also encourage dock owners to make sure all the metal parts of the dock are connected to a ground rod on the shore. This will ensure any part of the dock that become energized because of an electrical malfunction will trip the circuit breaker.
The Electric Shock Drowning Prevention Association encourages others to never swim in or near marinas, docks or boatyards.
If you are in the water and feel electric current, experts say you should shout to let others know, tuck your legs in to make yourself smaller, try to get away from anything that could be energized and do not use boat or dock ladders to get out.
If you are on the dock or shore when a swimmer feels electrical current, experts say you should not jump in, but instead throw the swimmer a float. You should then eliminate or turn off the source of electricity as quickly as possible before calling for help.
For additional tips, click here and here.