Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa and Senator Camera Bartolotta introduce legislation to prevent electric shock drowning

HARRISBURG, PA – June 11, 2024 – Today, State Senators Jay Costa and Camera Bartolotta circulated a co-sponsorship memo ahead of the passage of legislation aimed at preventing electric shock drowning (ESD).

ESD has become an umbrella term for all water shock victims and fatalities. Electrostatic discharge is typically the result of low-intensity alternating current flowing through the body with enough force to cause musculoskeletal paralysis, leaving the victim unable to assist themselves when immersed in fresh water, ultimately resulting in the victim drowning.

These regulations will require all boat docks and marina operations to meet the following requirements:

  1. Provide adequate primary overcurrent or earth fault protection
  2. Perform an initial electrical inspection and then every five years.
  3. Install enduring safety signs informing the public of the danger of electrical shock in the water around boats, docks and marinas.

“I’m excited to start a conversation about how we can prevent the tragedy of electrocution drowning and keep everyone safe in our waters.” said Senator Costa. “This bill will go a long way to ensuring that a beloved pastime doesn’t end in a preventable disaster. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to advance this issue and provide solutions for Pennsylvania docks and marinas.”

“While we never want to lose a child, the situation becomes especially tragic when the loss could have been prevented,” he added. – said Senator Bartolotta. “Since the typical victim of electrostatic discharge is a child swimming in or near a marina or quay where electricity is present, our regulations can prevent young people from losing their lives.”

More information on electric shock drowning can be found here.

Learn more about PA Senate Democrats’ commitment to creating safe and sound communities for every Pennsylvanian here.


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