Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

August 3, 2012

Vigilance at docks prevents electrocution

TAHLEQUAH — Summer fun turned deadly in July on Lake of the Ozarks, when the tragic electrocution death of two children swimming near a private dock spotlighted the dangers of mixing electricity and water.

A week later, a 26-year-old woman was electrocuted while swimming in the Lake of the Ozarks. An electrician with the boat dock division of COTA Electric said that lake has no real building code enforcement.

Local officials and business owners are maintaining a vigil to make sure similar tragedies don’t happen on Tenkiller or Fort Gibson lakes.

Lake Tenkiller Corps of Engineers Chief Ranger Debbie Christie said marinas are required to undergo yearly boat-dock inspections to ensure the safety of visitors.

“We make sure everything is up to snuff, and they have to use a certified electrician whenever electrical work is done,” she said. “We go out and check the boat docks, and if we see something wrong, we’ll let them know about it.”

Marinas install a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI), which is designed to prevent electrical shock by breaking the circuit when there is a current variation between hot and neutral wires. A GFCI monitors the amount of current flowing from the hot to neutral slot of an electrical outlet, according to the Discovery Channel’s How Stuff Works website.  If an imbalance is detected, it trips the circuit with the ability to discern an imbalance as small as 4 or 5 milliamps and can react as quickly as 1/30th of a second.

Fort Gibson Lake Corps of Engineers Chief Park Ranger Jonathan Polk said the annual boat-dock safety inspections take place “usually around March or April.”

“We also require the marina owners to provide a affidavit from a licensed electrician saying that anything electrical on the dock has been installed according to the National Electrical Safety Code,” he said.

According to the IEEE Standards Association website, the NESC establishes the rules for practical safeguarding of people during the installation, operation, or maintenance of electric supply, communication lines and associated equipment.

The NESC is known to be a stronghold in the U.S. electrical industry and communications utility field, and functions as the safety authority on requirements for power, telephone, cable TV and railroad signal systems.

One Corps of Engineers boat-dock safety requirement involves the use of weather-proof extension cords in the dock area. The cord must be zip-tied straight up and down on a pole for use. Cords can no longer be wrapped around the pole, which can lead to fissures in the protective lining of the cord, eventually fraying and exposing wires, said Paradise Cove Marina owner Ann Davis.

“We have a routine that we go through because we try to stay at Corps standard,” she said. “We know what they’re looking for [when they make their annual inspection], and that’s what we look for. We have an electrician sign off on everything. We stay pretty tight on everything because we’re such a big marina. Some of the docks are so far away that you can’t see them. Through our regular maintenance, we check to see if things are working properly.”

Burnt Cabin Owner Karen Young said the Lake Tenkiller marina’s boat docks are checked three times a year by an electrician.

“They trip the breakers themselves and make sure they trip accordingly,” she said. “We’re fortunate a lot of our slips are new. We only have one older dock. Every once in awhile, you get a bad breaker that you have to change. If you have to reset it and it continues to do that, you need to replace it. Regular maintenance usually makes you aware of stuff like that. Anything that’s required by the Corps, we have to have signed by a licensed electrician. The prevention stuff we do on our own. You do the best job you can to keep something from happening.”

Strategic placement of the GFCI can help monitor the area to determine if an electrical problem is mechanical or due to improper use of a boat lift, said Sixshooter Resort owner Brandi Little.

“We have a GFCI on every section on the breaker box; that way, it’s not affecting everyone,” she said. “When we notice a box that’s constantly tripping, we can find out if there’s a problem with the wiring or who doesn’t know how to use their boat lift properly. When the water comes of the motor, it gets tripped. If they leave the motor running and the boat is already up in the highest position that it can go, it’ll draw water because it doesn’t have anywhere to go. When they’re raising the boat and get to a certain point, they should turn it off.”

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered everyday to your home or office. Code for E-EDITION TRIAL OR SUBSCRIBE Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition.

It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ts-Tax-free-main.jpg Shopper's delight

    Tax-free weekend coming up Aug. 1-3, just in time for back-to-school savings

    Attention, shoppers: Oklahoma’s Tax-Free Weekend is coming up, beginning at 12:01 a.m., Friday, Aug. 1.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • ballard-amanda.jpg Woman pleads no contest to molestation

    A Tahlequah woman accused of having more than 20 sexual encounters with a 13-year-old boy has pleaded no contest in exchange for a 15-year prison sentence, though 10 years have been suspended.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-arch-society.jpg Archaeologist: Spiro Mounds may have been ancient music haven

    People gathered from across the country at the “center of the universe,” bringing with them different styles of music and instruments, each thought to have its own power and importance.
    This could be the description of a modern music festival, but to Jim Rees, it is a picture of the Spiro Mounds 1,000 years before Columbus came to the Americas.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two headed for trial for conspiracy to kill judge and others

    Two of the four people accused of conspiring to kill a Cherokee County judge and several other targets were bound over for trial Friday following a preliminary hearing in Tahlequah.

    July 28, 2014

  • Woman accused in embezzlement sought for arrest

    Court officials have issued a bench warrant for a woman who previously pleaded to embezzling more than $40,000 while she worked for Tahlequah attorney Park Medearis.

    July 28, 2014

  • CN, UKB battle over trust land application

    Two Tahlequah-based tribes presented oral arguments Friday in a protracted fight over a land-in-trust application.

    Over the course of five hours, attorneys for the Cherokee Nation, United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee Nation Entertainment and the Department of the Interior made their cases before Northern District Judge Gregory Frizzell in a hearing that was originally scheduled for February.

     

    July 25, 2014

  • ts-NSU-Main-1-a.jpg No NSU pool, for now

    NSU experiencing delays in fitness center construction

    Earlier this month, Northeastern State University announced it is experiencing delays in the renovation of its fitness center and pool.
    The facility was officially shuttered Sept. 17, 2012, and at the time, the projected completion date for renovation was this fall.

    July 25, 2014 3 Photos

  • jn-Suspect-1.jpg Officials: Images of suspects may help nab church burglars

    Cherokee County investigators hope surveillance footage captured around the Crescent Valley Baptist Church in Woodall helps lead to the suspects accused of breaking into the complex and setting fire to one building this week.
    According to Undersheriff Jason Chennault, cameras captured footage of two suspects on bicycles early Tuesday morning, July 22.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw-movie-night.jpg Local library hosts family movie night

    Nova Foreman and her two daughters were about to leave the Tahlequah Public Library Thursday, when they saw the Family Movie Night flyer.
    The three decided to stay and enjoy a movie they had not yet seen at the free, theater-like event.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-Keys.jpg Grant to fund stepped-up Keys PE program

    Kair Ridenhour’s new office is filled with pedometers.
    Ridenhour officially started his new position as assistant elementary principal at Keys Public Schools on July 1.
    But his other role at the school – that of physical education project coordinator – prompted the influx of pedometers.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Stocks