Preventing Electric Shock Drowning with Bender’s MarinaGuard®

Image 1: Example of a ground fault caused by a boat connected to a source of electrical power at a dock
Image 1: Example of a ground fault caused by a boat connected to a source of electrical power at a dock

Many people have experienced the pleasure of relaxing on a boat on a bright summer day. The sun shines, seagulls caw, and a sense of relaxation permeates the air. Imagine you are there right now, relaxing on your private yacht, and you see a family approach their own boat, ready to take it out for the day. It is an especially hot day, so when the kids ask if they can swim first, no one protests. You watch the kids jump into the water and swim around the boat. Very quickly, you realize something is wrong as one child appears to freeze, unable to move, and begins to sink. She is experiencing electric shock drowning (ESD) and if she isn’t pulled from the water immediately, she will drown.

What is Electric Shock Drowning?

ESD tragically occurs when AC current passes through a person’s body with enough force to cause muscular paralysis, incapacitating the individual immersed in water, which leads to the individual drowning. It takes as little as 10 mA of electricity to paralyze a person, leaving the person helpless in the water. While ESD can occur in any location where electricity is near water, it most often occurs in public and private marinas and docks. There are two typical sources of electrical energy in water:

  • Faulty wiring on a pier, dock, or marina
  • Faulty wiring in a boat connected to the electrical power of a pier, dock, or marina
Image 2: Example of a common marina configuration
Image 2: Example of a common marina configuration

The Bender MarinaGuard

Advanced ground fault protection is available for docks and marinas with the Bender MarinaGuard. When a ground fault is detected, an alarm will sound and a red strobe light will flash, alerting individuals to the threat. The NEC (National Electrical Code) requires 30 to 100-mA ground-fault protection for specific marina electrical installations, and the MarinaGuard meets these requirements when connected to trip circuit breakers. The Canadian Electrical Code has similar rules. When combined with Bender’s other state-of-the-art products, multiple MarinaGuards can be monitored remotely through a computer, so you will be easily alerted if an alarm has triggered, without needing to monitor the system manually.

Keep your marinas and docks safe

Are you safe when you go to your marina or dock? Are your children safe? For more information about this application or to learn more about Bender technology related to your specific application, contact our team of experts.


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