Electricians in the southwest Missouri lake region are in demand as owners of property around the lake – especially older homes and resort complexes – scramble to ensure their docks are safe for the thousands of people who annually take to the water to beat the summer heat. Fire marshals also are swamped with inspections, hardware stores are running out of electrical supplies, and fire departments and Missouri Highway Patrol are urging people to make sure their docks are safe. Two Ashland were killed on the Fourth of July in the Gravois Arm of the lake, and a 26-year-old woman was killed July 7 at the Dry Branch Cove. In both cases, there were no ground fault circuit interrupters – which help prevent shock – in place to shut power down in an electrical emergency. Several other people have received electrical jolts at the lake. Fire officials and electricians said most docks at the lake were wired 30 or 40 years ago, often by novices.
Three deaths in a four-day span in July and several other close calls have brought increased scrutiny to electrical wiring on boat docks at the Lake of the Ozarks.