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After children's electrocution deaths, Tennessee passes marina safety bill

ESFI urges other states to do the same

electric shock warning signThe Tennessee General Assembly has enacted a marina safety law intended to protect state residents from electric shock injuries and drowning deaths near marinas and boat docks. 

Introduced as the "Noah Dean and Nate Act" in January 2014, the legislation is named in memory of 10-year-old Noah Dean Winstead and 11-year-old Nate Lynam who died from electrical injuries they suffered on July 4, 2012 at a marina near Morristown, Tenn. An inspection after the incident determined that the marina lacked Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs), which protect against fatal shocks by shutting down electricity before it can leak into the water. 

Jessica Winstead, Noah Dean’s mother, made the legislation possible as a result of her tireless crusade to raise awareness about the risk of electric shock drowning.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) commended the Tennessee legislature for passing the measure.

“Hopefully this groundbreaking legislation will bring the topic of electrical shock drowning to the national stage and inspire other states to follow suit,” said ESFI President Brett Brenner.

Under the “Noah Dean and Nate” marina safety law, Tennessee marinas must install ground fault protection, post notices about the danger of electrical leakage into waters surrounding a marina, and undergo a safety inspection conducted by the state fire marshal between January 1, 2015, and every five years thereafter. The law will go into effect on  April 1, 2015. 

“No family should suffer the agony of preventable loss because dangers are ignored,” said Jessica Winstead. “The passing of this bill is a victory for the State of Tennessee, and will hopefully heighten awareness across the nation about the dangers of electric shock drowning.” 

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