High water levels increase risk of Electric Shock Drowning

Jun 18, 2019

High water levels in the state have the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Coast Guard concerned about Electric Shock Drowning.

ESD happens when a person comes in contact with an electric current in the water, loses muscle control and drowns. 

That electric current can be caused by faulty or exposed wiring from things like frayed electrical cords or household extension cords being used on boats, docks and in marinas.

Marcus Collison with the U.S. Coast Guard says record-high lake levels expose more wiring to water than normal.

“With the high water levels, a lot of these docks are almost submerged — or some I’ve even seen — completely submerged,” he says.

Collison says people should avoid swimming off of docks and piers that are wired with electricity.

“Every year Electric Shock Drowning is always a threat,” he says. "With the high water level, it just increases that threat.”

High water levels could persist in the state until the end of August.