dock with powerlines

Dock Safety


Electric shock can happen anywhere electricity is present — on the dock itself and in the water. Many summer activities happen on or near the dock so remember: Water and electricity are a lethal mix!

As a dock owner, you are responsible for keeping electrical equipment around docks and boathouses in safe working order. This includes maintaining all electrical installations and equipment on docks and checking them regularly. Doing this ensures they are safe and meet Ontario Electrical Safety Code requirements.

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

  1. Install 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). 

  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. Immediately turn off the power at the electrical panel if you think there is an issue with your electrical system. 
  4. Contact a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC) to check out any issues with your dock’s electrical system. Find an LEC here. Make sure to have an LEC regularly maintain the equipment.

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

Learn more:


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.

Steps to ensure your dock’s electrical system is safe during rising water levels:

  1. Check to see if water has covered electrical outlets, electrical panel, power/extension cords or other equipment. Do not approach if you suspect water has risen above these electrical items. Electricity can move through water or wet flooring and cause a severe electrical shock.
  2. Disconnect the power immediately if high water levels have affected your equipment.
  3. Call a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC) once water levels have receded. Have your LEC check the wiring, outlets and other dockside electrical equipment to make sure the equipment is safe and meets Ontario Electrical Safety Code requirements. 
  4. Always ask your LEC for a copy of ESA’s Certificate of Acceptance, an important document for your records and insurance.