Chilmark posts shock hazard signs, fixes ‘serious’ electrical problem in Menemsha

New signs are up warning of a potential shock hazard at Crab Corner in Menemsha. But parents say the problem is fixed and they want their wading area back.

Chilmark has sealed off Menemsha’s Crab Corner with snow fencing and erected signs that indicate a shock hazard may be present in the water there.

Crab Corner is a popular children’s swimming and wading area nestled between the town’s transient dock and the Menemsha Jetty. Several people have reported experiencing electric current in the seawater there, including third graders on a school trip.

The town has also repaired “a very serious problem”, as inspector of wires Cole Powers put it. Daseco, an electrical contractor, completed a wiring and grounding repair to the transient dock electrical service on the morning of July 13, according to selectman Jim Malkin. Mr. Powers inspected the work and signed off on it, he said. The fix is “most probably the solution to the voltage problem,” Mr. Malkin said.

A portion of the new wiring runs through conduit, he added, because the town was loath to cut up concrete in the summer season and bury it. In the autumn, the wire in the conduit will be buried. The town recently instructed Mr. Powers to survey the remainder of the transient dock, the commercial fishing wharf, and the west dock, and report on any electrical upgrades or repairs that are needed, he said. Crab Corner will stay closed pending further discussion by the selectmen. The area around the transient dock remains under electrical threat from boats, according to Mr. Malkin. He said Mr. Powers told him that improperly grounded vessels tied to the transient dock can leak voltage into the water.