The Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District will be hiring a part time dock inspector for the summer.

The Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District will be hiring a part time dock inspector for the summer.

The board of directors approved the expense Monday evening to help clear up a back log of dock inspections that has built up since one of the department's two inspectors retired in recent months.

Since board president Bob Smithey was unopposed in the April election cycle, the district did not have to hold an election, saving about $3,000 that had been budgeted for that purpose.

That money will now be used to pay for a second dock inspector to work 20 hours a week for 15 weeks at $9.50 per hour. Sunrise Beach Fire Marshal Bobby Northcott estimated the new position could bump up productivity on inspections by 10-13 per 10 hour shift.

The SBFPD had more than 20 docks in the permitting process last month, but were only able to complete inspections on five.

Northcott also does building permit inspections and other fire prevention duties as well as responding to calls as needed.

According to Sunrise Beach Fire Chief Dennis Reilly, there are one or two qualified inspectors from other departments who might be able to come in and go to work quickly. The part time position's only responsibility with the SBFPD will be to inspect docks.

Reilly said the part time inspector would start around May 15.

Similar to other fire districts in the area, Sunrise Beach has had electrical code requirements for new, relocated, remodeled or repaired docks within its jurisdiction on the Lake of the Ozarks since January 2006. The code does not apply to docks put in prior to 2006.

The Lake of the Ozarks has around 30,000 total docks on its waters.

In addition to the SBFPD, six other area fire departments permit docks with a full electrical inspection for a minimal fee in conjunction with Ameren Missouri's dock permitting process.

The Village of Four Seasons also offers electrical dock inspections for a fee or an inspection of a dock's ground fault circuit interruptor at no charge.

Contact your local fire department for information on what is required in your district regarding dock inspections.

But fire marshals around the lake emphasize the need for dock owners to not only have an inspection done when required but also to check their dock's electrical system on their own on a routine basis.

Depending on how rough the water is where the dock is located, that could be once a month or once a week. Special events that generate more wave action than normal should also be considered, such as a storm or a particularly busy weekend on the water.

A routine visual inspection by a homeowner could include checking all of the electrical system's pivot points, making sure conduits are intact and that there aren't any wires hanging down in the water. Check to see if the breakers have tripped. If they have, it shows something is wrong.

It is also recommended that people keep in mind not just how their own dock looks before going into the water but also how their neighbors' docks look.

The most recommended item for dock electrical safety is a ground fault circuit interruptor tester, which is considered a cheap and simple way to make sure the electrical system's safety shut-off is working.

GFCI testers can be found at almost any hardware store and are easy to use.

There are also devices that test for voltage in the water and will sound an alarm if current is detected.

If a dock owner decides to invest in one of these alarms whether it's locally or nationally made, the device needs to be certified to meet national standards. The most common testing entity is Underwriters Labratory. Look for the official UL marking on the product. That means it has been tested to ensure that the product will work 100 percent of the time and not give false information.

If you feel a tingle while you're in the water or when you grab the dock, immediately get away from the power source and yell for help. Have somebody on land shut off the power to the dock.

Fire officials recommend having life safety devices near the dock and making sure someone else knows you're getting in the water.