Each year 74 million Americans take to the water in search of adventure and new memories. Most often, time afloat is a positive experience, creating the unforgettable memories of the mind’s landscape. Yet, tragedy may strike a boater at any minute. Unlike dry land, the dangers at sea can easily turn deadly. Due to possible fatal injuries such as drowning and hypothermia, the boater must remain vigil about safety.
The types of tragedy that may affect boaters are numerous. However, three incidents most commonly occur to recreational boaters, according to the US Coast Guard:
- A passenger falls overboard
- A boat capsizes
- A boat collides with another boat or object
For this reason, preparedness is essential for any boater. Moreover, during 2015, the US Coast Guard reported 4,158 boating incidents and 626 fatalities.
Falling overboard is among boating’s most dangerous incidents. Hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition caused by a severe drop in body temperature, occurs when a person is exposed to cold water for a long period of time. Hypothermia can affect those who remain in 70-degree or cooler water for extended periods – the Human body cools 25 times faster in cold water than in cold air.
Life jackets are a boater’s best friend. Those who neglect to wear a life jacket are likely to drown in the ocean’s severe undertow. According to the US. Coast Guard 78% of boating deaths, during 2014, were due to drowning, and 84% of the victims were not wearing a life jacket. However, comfortable and fashionable Coast Guard-approved life jackets are widely available. Moreover, prior to setting out, review the pre-departure checklist and ensure you have a toolbox, first-aid kit, and enough life jackets for all passengers.
Recreational boating, for many, is the stuff memories are made from. However, the boater must remain conscious of safety – the potential risk of bodily harm and property damage causes boating to be among the more dangerous pastimes, about 42 million dollars of damage to property occurs on the water each year. Moreover, if you notice storm clouds, a sudden drop in temperature or increasing windspeed, get off the water. Those who play it safe, and wear life jackets are rewarded with an unforgettable boating experience.