Diver Electrical Safety

There cannot be too many precautions taken to eliminate underwater shock hazards. Common sense, training, and good equipment maintenance play a critical role in preventing electrical accidents.

Common Sense

Common sense rules for the use of electricity by divers are the best means of ensuring diver safety. Most cases of electrical shock result from human error. There is no substitute for attention to details of connections, acceptable conditions of equipment, tagging out switches, and so on. As in terrestrial situations, inattention or carelessness is a greater hazard than the equipment or environment.


Training on the use of electrical equipment underwater is essential. Training should provide the diver with an understanding of the use of the equipment, the potential hazards, and how to avoid them.

The training should provide information that will put the diver in control of his own safety around electrical equipment. This self-reliance is crucial underwater because the conductive seawater medium prevents the buddy diver from coming to the aid of the first, since this would place both divers at risk. In addition, the primary treatment for electric shock is mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, which cannot be effectively administered underwater. There cannot be too many precautions taken to eliminate underwater electrical shock hazards.


Maintenance of electrical equipment used underwater must be carefully accomplished. In addition to visual inspections, insulation should be checked regularly for resistance to ground. Line cords should be checked for frayed or worn insulation and loose connections. Careful maintenance and inspection records are an essential part of an underwater electrical safety program.

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