NASHVILLE — The Volunteer State’s beautiful lakes, rivers, and waterways are the perfect place to beat the heat this summer.
To help keep Tennesseans safe while on the water, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (“SFMO”) reminds consumers to learn more about potential hazards that could lead to electric shock drowning.
Electric shock drowning occurs when a swimmer unknowingly enters water that has been electrified by a nearby power source such as a boat or a marina. While swimming in the electrified water, the swimmer is paralyzed by the electric current in the water before drowning.
To reduce the risk of electric shock drowning deaths in Tennessee, the Tennessee General Assembly passed the Noah Dean and Nate Act, which was named after Noah Dean Winstead, 10, and Nate Lynam, 11, who died on July 4, 2012, after being electrocuted while swimming at the Cherokee Lake marina. The Act, which was passed in 2014, requires that all of Tennessee’s public marinas and docks be inspected by the SFMO. As part of the legislation, marina and boat dock operators must comply with equipment requirements preventing possible electrical shocks and electrocution.
To aid boaters, the SFMO posts a list of inspections of Tennessee public marinas, harbors, and docks which can be found here. By law, marina inspections by the SFMO occur every 5 years.
“Ahead of the Fourth of July holiday and all summer long, I urge my fellow Tennesseans to focus on safety every time they are on the water and to always be aware of the risks that can arise with electric shock drowning,” said Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Carter Lawrence. “Our team focuses on consumer safety through responsible regulation such as the marina inspection process. The marina inspection program shows our commitment to Tennesseans by providing important information to them in order to help ensure their safety.”
To help boaters and swimmers avoid electric shock drowning incidents, the SFMO created this video to highlight the importance of safety when visiting a dock or marina.
As a reminder for families and boat owners, the SFMO shares these tips to help avoid electric shock drowning.