“Something like that, electric shock, that could happen to anybody,” said dock owner Bill Martin.
Neighboring dock owners said they too did not know about the regulations.
“We bought it like this,” said Martin. “It had the dock permit, so it wasn't ever re-inspected or anything.”
Bill Martin’s dock has been on the lake for decades and he has even had a close call in the past.
“When I reached in to get a fish one day, I got tingled,” he said.
He rewired the dock after Alexandra and Brayden died only feet away, but he said before that, he had no idea about the potential dangers.
Just a few days later, 26-year-old Jennifer Lankford died at a different dock. Ameren then sent out a letter to everyone on the lake informing dock owners it was their responsibility to keep their docks up to code.
When asked why so few docks have been brought up to code, Osage Beach Fire District Fire Marshal Ed Nicholson said, “Most people are unaware of it. They are not here all the time and they don’t hear the message from us.”
However, since the three deaths in 2012, phone calls have started to pour in for dock inspections.
“I think literally thousands of docks last summer were inspected and upgraded,” said Jeff Green of Ameren.
Firefighters who have been completing the inspections told ABC 17 News they have been pushing education and even offering to work for free.
“Annually, each fire district gets a couple hundred applications they are inspecting a year,” said Mid-County Fire Protection District Deputy Chief and Fire Marshal Chris Bachman.
“I did a subdivision inspection, they had 64 docks,” said Nicholson. “I did inspection on all of them and 74 percent did not pass inspection. I would say that's pretty typical of the whole lake area.”
Since the tragedy on the docks nearly one year ago, the question still remains if the Lake of the Ozarks has become safer.
“There are around 25,000 docks in the Lake area and probably we have only looked at maybe ten percent of the docks,” said Nicholson.
That means there is 90 percent of the Lake that could still be at risk, plus a large portion of it has no building codes and no rules for docks.
“Thirty-two percent of those docks are in areas where there is currently no enforcement of the program,” said Nicholson.
“Which they have no code adopted by any governmental agency and they have no inspectors to go out and look at those docks,” added Bachman.
The Andersons' lake house falls into that category. It is in an area where no one is making sure that nearly 8,000 docks are protected. But even in the other districts, no one is proactively looking for dangers.
“It’s up to the dock owners right now,” said Osage Beach Fire District’s Ed Nicholson. “There is nothing in place. No ordinance or statute that says they have to do it.”
“As far as a proactive going out there, making sure that everybody is testing their GFCIs or making sure that ground rods are properly bonded, that's not happening,” said Amenen’s Jeff Green. “That's crucial for property owners to do.”
If the property owner doesn’t, then the only way for a fire department or Ameren to intervene on a grandfathered dock is if they find out it might put lives in danger.
“We absolutely will cut power where there is a threat to life safety,” said Green.
The problem is if Ameren does not find out, everyone still shares the lake. If one dock is unsafe, anyone around is in jeopardy of being shocked.
“Current can travel from one dock to another dock,” said Bachman. “If it is leaking, it depends on how many amps are in the water, but if it is leaking power into the water, yes that potential is there for [getting shocked].”