By Grant Bissell
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Before you head to the lake this summer you need to know about a hidden danger that could be waiting beneath the waves.
Electrical currents are to blame for three deaths last summer at the Lake of the Ozarks. Investigators say those currents came from docks with improper or damaged wiring.
But electrical experts say taking simple steps can help you and your family avoid a similar tragedy.
"The big thing is to make sure that you hire a well-qualified electrical contractor to review it and make sure that your dock is safe especially if your family or your friends are going to be on it," said Tim Kelley of the Electrical Connection.
Kelley says do-it-yourselfers should know that GFCI outlets, grounding rods and bonding jumpers should always be used on docks and owners should have the wiring inspected regularly. And he adds that extension cords should never be used on a dock.
Kelley says unlike with homes, the state of Missouri does not require inspections on dock electrical systems.
"The reason why we should start doing it now is because it creates a clear and present danger for the people at or around the docks that have inadequate wiring," said Kelley.
Tom Wilson of Webster Groves knows just how poorly water and electricity mix. He was shocked while swimming in a lake in Indiana.
"All of a sudden I felt a tingling sensation as I was swimming and I knew immediately I was being electrocuted," said Wilson.
Wilson's experience made him think of his family's dock at Lake St. Louis. So he hired a licensed electrician to install the electrical system with a triple fail-safe.
He says the extra time and money spent on his family's dock is well worth it.
"I knew I had to wire it properly to avoid any potential risk of anyone else coming out here and getting shocked like I had," he said.
Click here for dock electrical safety guidelines from The Electrical Connection.