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Power for Progress: Electric safety and your boat

Power for Progress: Electric safety and your boat

Boat safe
May is National Electric Safety Month and GRDA is proud to join in the effort to encourage safety by sharing important tips all month long. This week, we share some electric safety tips for boat operators.

Power for Progress…

A weekly column from the Grand River Dam Authority

Recognizing National Electric Safety Month

Electric safety and your boat …


Throughout the month of May, the Grand River Dam Authority has been recognizing National Electric Safety Month by sharing important tips for homeowners. However, this week, as we draw close to Memorial Day and the beginning of the busy summer boating season, we wanted to share a few electric safety tips for boat owners. We have shared these before but as you gear up for a summer on your boat, it is a good time to be reminded. Please keep these tips in mind.

  • First, always be aware of your surroundings and potential electrical hazards by checking the location of nearby power lines before boating, fishing, or swimming. Also, always maintain a distance of at least ten feet between your boat and nearby power lines.
  • Have your boat’s electrical system inspected and upgraded by a certified marine electrician regularly to be sure they meet your local and state safety code and standards.
  • Use “UL- Marine Listed” portable GFCIs when using electricity near the water. They will decrease the chances of shock or electrocution.
  • Consider having Equipment Leakage Circuit Interrupters (ELCI) installed on your boat to protect nearby swimmers from potential electricity leakage into water surrounding your boat.
  • Only use shore or marine power cords, plugs, receptacles, and extension cords that have been tested by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or ETL SEMKO (ETL). They are specifically designed to keep you safe when using them near water.
  • If you question the safety of your boat’s electrical system, immediately turn off the power supply to the electrical panel and DO NOT turn it back on until a qualified electrician has checked it.
  • Never stand or swim in water when turning off electrical devices or switches to prevent shock or electrocution.


Your friends at GRDA want you to have a safe, enjoyable summer on the water. Keep these tips in mind, and ALWAYS WEAR YOUR LIFE JACKET. For more helpful electric safety tips, visit esfi.org.


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