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Senador Costa

HARRISBURG, PA – June 11, 2024 – Today, State Senators Jay Costa and Camera Bartolotta circulated a co-sponsorship memo ahead of legislation to prevent Electric Shock Drowning (ESD). 

ESD has become the catch-all phrase that encompasses all in-water shock casualties and fatalities. ESD is usually the result of the passage of a low-level AC current through the body with sufficient force to cause skeletal-muscular paralysis, rendering the victim unable to help themself while immersed in fresh water, eventually resulting in the victim’s drowning.  

This legislation will require all boat docks and marina operations comply with the following:

  1. Provide appropriate main overcurrent protective devices or ground fault protection
  2. Provide an initial electrical inspection and then every five years thereafter.
  3. Install permanent safety signage notifying the public of electric shock hazards in water around boats, docks and marinas.

“I’m so glad to be opening a conversation around how we can prevent the tragedy of Electric Shock Drowning and ensure that everyone is safe in our waters,” said Senator Costa. “This bill will go a long way in ensuring that a beloved pastime does not end in a preventable catastrophe. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House and Senate to raise this issue and deliver solutions to Pennsylvania’s boat docks and marinas.”  

“While we never want to lose a child, it becomes especially tragic when the loss was preventable,” Senator Bartolotta said. “As the typical ESD victim is a child swimming in or around a marina or dock where electricity is present, our legislation could prevent the loss of young lives.”

Learn more about Electric Shock Drowning here.

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