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New law causes marina to unhook electric slips

Photo submitted to The Exponent Telegram The Stonewall Jackson Lake Marina will be disconnecting electric to its 92 electrical boat slips Dec. 1 due to the cost for upgrades required by the Michael Cunningham Act.
Photo submitted to The Exponent Telegram
The Stonewall Jackson Lake Marina will be disconnecting electric to its 92 electrical boat slips Dec. 1 due to the cost for upgrades required by the Michael Cunningham Act.

ROANOKE, W.Va. — Stonewall Jackson Lake Marina’s 92 electrical boat slips are being disconnected Dec. 1 because the resort doesn’t have $600,000 to pay for required upgrades to the entire system, spokesman Steve Ludwig said.

“Sixty-one renters, some of whom rent two spots and occupy 92 electric slips, will be affected out of 374,” Ludwig said. “Most of them remove the boats at the end of summer. Some houseboats stay year-round. They would receive a refund.”

The Michael Cunningham Act requires boat docks in public waterways to have ground-fault circuit interrupters that disconnect electrical circuits when safe levels are surpassed.

It also bans swimming within 100 yards of marinas. The legislation additionally calls for inspections of boat harbors at least every three years to ensure they are following national standards.

An amendment to the boat dock safety law extends its implementation date from Aug. 1 to Jan. 1.

Cunningham died May 29, 2010, from electric shock drowning at Stonewall Jackson Lake Marina at the age of 15.

The Bridgeport High School student was swimming with a friend when he grabbed the ladder of the houseboat where they were staying and received an electrical shock, according to his father, Kevin Cunningham.

The teen then fell back in the water and drowned, his father said. The houseboat was improperly wired, Cunningham said.

The effective date was pushed back to ensure the state Fire Marshal’s Office had time to make the state electrical inspectors aware of training opportunities to meet the standard, said Lawrence Messina…

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