Flooded Waterways Too Dangerous for Boating

April 28, 2011

Jackson Purchase Energy reminds everyone that higher water levels bring boats and other items that float into much closer proximity to power lines and other electrical equipment.

Although it's tempting to have a look around when areas become flooded, Jackson Purchase Energy urges people—along with their boats—to stay out of flooded lands and waterways.

"Unless it's an emergency, boaters should never go out in flood waters," says Kelly Nuckols, President/CEO. "In addition to submerged hazards beneath the water's surface, flooding produces strong currents and can dramatically reduce clearances, increasing the likelihood of contact with overhead power lines."

"Everyone needs to be aware of power lines on and off the water. Make sure you have at least ten feet of clearance and factor in changing water levels."

If you are on a boat that does come in contact with a power line, never jump out of the boat into the water since the water could be energized. Instead, stay in the boat and avoid touching anything metal until help arrives or until your boat is no longer in contact with the line.

The minerals in water make it a powerful conductor of electricity, and it is especially important to be aware of electrical hazards in a flooded area. The strong currents can knock over power poles and electric equipment and can create energized areas of water.

When areas become flooded, buoys and beacons can be moved or damaged. They should not be relied on for safe navigation. Also, flooding produces strong currents and a lot of debris in the water. Submerged objects can be dangerous. People are urged to avoid the water at all costs.

The same is true of flooded rooms and areas inside a building. Never step into a flooded area if water could be in contact with electrical equipment or outlets. Make sure the power to the building is off before entering.

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