dock with powerlines

Dock Safety


Safety Tips for Public and Private Dock Owners

Many summer activities happen on or near the dock, but remember: water and electricity are a lethal mix!

Electric shock can happen anywhere electricity is present – on the dock itself and in the water. Regularly check and maintain any electrical installations and equipment on docks. This makes sure they’re safe and meet Ontario Electrical Safety Code requirements.

As a dock owner, you are responsible for keeping electrical equipment around docks and boathouses in safe working order.

These tips will help keep your dock’s electrical system safe:

  1. You must have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protection for electrical outlets on floating piers or docks. The circuits delivering electricity to these outlets must also be Ground Fault Protected (GFP). These are Ontario Electrical Safety Code requirements.
  2. Never use frayed or damaged cords. Make sure all marine cords have a ground pin (three prongs) to prevent electric shock. Learn how to power up safely with extension cords.
  3. If you suspect an issue with your dock’s electrical system, immediately turn off the power at the electrical panel. Contact a Licensed Electrical Contractor to check your system. Find one here.

Consider placing signs near your dock warning about the potential for electric current in the water.

Learn more:

Download ESA's Electrical Safety Around the Dock brochure

Rising Water Levels

High water levels have a heightened risk of electric shock. When water makes contact with electrical systems, the shock could seriously injure or kill you.

Follow these steps to ensure your dock’s electrical system is safe:

  1. Check to see if water has covered your electrical outlets, electrical panel, power/extension cords or other equipment. Do not approach if you suspect water has risen above the electrical outlets or near your electrical panel. Electricity can move through water or wet flooring and cause a severe electrical shock.
  2. If high water levels have affected your equipment, disconnect the power immediately.
  3. Once water levels have receded, call a Licensed Electrical Contractor. Have your Licensed Electrical Contractor check the wiring, outlets and other dockside electrical equipment. They will make sure the equipment is safe and meets Ontario Electrical Safety Code requirements. Make sure to have a Licensed Electrical Contractor regularly maintain the equipment.
  4. Always ask your Licensed Electrical Contractor for a copy of ESA’s Certificate of Acceptance. This is important for your records and insurance.

Find a Licensed Electrical Contractor near you using ESA's contractor lookup tool.