Lake Officials Warn Oklahomans About Dock Safety, Hazards

Sunday, June 1st 2014, 9:15 pm
By: News On 6

It's boating season and that means a lot of Oklahomans are enjoying many of Green Country's lakes.

Officials who run those lakes are sending out a reminder about dock safety and the hazards they pose if an electrical wire shorts out.

There are more than 10,000 docks between Grand Lake and Lake Hudson.

Grand River Dam Authority officials want to make sure all cables are intact so nobody is shocked.

It takes a lot of work to get a boat ready for the season. GRDA says people should to take the same care with their docks, especially when it comes to checking the power.

The winter months and changes in lake levels can cause electrical lines to short out.

"So as they become more and more developed and become more of a gathering place to get your boat in and out, I think this is important that you know make sure this in good and working order," GRDA spokesperson Justin Alberty said.

Tim Lyons remembers when he went swimming seven years ago on Grand Lake and barely made it out alive.

"When I got into the water, I immediately knew it was electrified and knew that I was in trouble," Lyons said.

He says the dock had faulty wiring and ended up swimming right towards the problem.

"I was able to get back to the swim ladder, which was the absolutely worst place to be, because that's the source of the electricity was getting into the water was through that metal ladder," he said.

The shock left him unconscious for 20 minutes while first responders tried to revive him.

"I can remember waking up, and just, I was so amazed that I was still alive because I knew what I was going through was really serious," Lyons said.

GRDA officials said dock "standards require docks to have an electrical disconnect clearly identified and located above the high water mark."

For example, a dock at Cedar Port Marina has multiple fail-safes.

The boat hoist systems and power outlets have circuit breakers built right into them.

Lyons said he's not scared to go back in the lake for a swim.

"Just constantly be vigilant," he said. "Still have fun, but be vigilant it's just absolutely a must when you're around water."

If you plan to make any changes to your dock, GRDA wants you to remind you to get a dock permit.

All docks on the lake need to be inspected by a licensed electrician.