Is Your Dock Safe?

In order to ensure the electrical safety of your boat dock, there are many items such as proper grounding, bonding, and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) that must be properly installed and maintained in good working condition. Proper grounding includes ensuring the grounding system is installed back to the power source at the utility transformer. Many dock owners assume that the ground rod installed near their shoreline disconnect provides proper grounding. While this ground rod is an important safety feature it does not provide for grounding to the utility transformer which must be present for your circuit breakers to properly function. in order to establish proper grounding, a low resistance electrical path must be maintained back to the utility transformer. This is completed by ensuring there is a continuous ground wire connecting the dock to the panel box at the house. If there is a break in this connection, at any location, the grounding of your dock is not complete. Ameren Missouri strongly recommends having your grounding system tested by a qualified electrician to ensure you your dock does not present a hazard to you, your family, or to other lake users.


When a property located within the area of the Osage Beach Fire Protection District, Lake Ozark Fire Protection District, Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District, or Village of Four Seasons transfers ownership, an inspection of the electrical system on the dock must be made by the Fire District or the Village in advance of transferring the dock permit to the new owners. This inspection must have been completed and approved within the previous 12 months.  A copy of this inspection approval must be submitted with the permit transfer application to Ameren Missouri.
Safety Tips 
   All docks need continual inspections by their owners

  • Water movement, freezing and thawing can cause wear on your dock’s electrical equipment. Monthly ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) testing of electric equipment and bonding wires is recommended. Electrical equipment that worked well the prior season will need to be inspected before using the dock again.

  Have both the dock and the power supply to the dock regularly inspected by a qualified electrician.

  • Electrical problems in or near the house and lines feeding the dock can cause life-threatening problems, even with docks that meet code and have been inspected.

  Never swim around a dock where breakers or GFCIs are tripping.

  • Heed the warning signs! If in doubt, swim away from the dock and get out! If a breaker of GFCI trips, something is wrong and the dock should be considered unsafe until a qualified electrician inspects and fixes the problem.

  Never attempt to energize or re-energize, engage a breaker, or reset a GFCI while someone is swimming near the dock.

  • Get the dock inspect and fixed before using or swimming nearby.

  Do not touch any part of the dock or adjacent docks if a tingle or shock is felt.

  • Swim or get away from the dock, cables, and attachments. Exit the water away from the source of the shock. If possible, swim to the shoreline and exit there.

Take a look at Ameren Missouri’s Electrical Installation Requirements for Private Boat Docks.

Take a look at Ameren Missouri’s Dock Wiring Inspection Sheet.


All information above is proved by Ameren Missouri. If you have any further questions about your docks electrical system you are strongly encouraged to have it inspected by a qualified electrician.


Need a recommendation on a qualified electrician? Feel free to give us a call.

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