Out on the open ocean, many people feel a false sense of security. They believe that the rules of boating don’t need to be followed and there will be no consequences. However, boating can be dangerous. In fact, a boating accident can be just as serious as a car accident. Find out the dangers and risks of boating on the high seas.
The Seriousness of a Boating Accident
Much like a car accident, a boating accident can have fatal consequences. Unfortunately, there have been too many recent reports of serious accidents on the water. For example, there is the recent story of the parents of the Uber CEO who had a fatal accident on their boat. Travis Kalanick’s mother died when their boat hit a rock in a California lake. In the accident, Kalnick’s father also suffered serious injuries.
There have been countless other stories reporting serious boating accidents. In many of those cases, drugs or alcohol is involved. Although boaters don’t often take drinking and boating seriously, it can cause devastating accidents. Consider the recent accident of the Miami Marlin’s Jose Fernandez. When on a late-night boat trip with his friends, Fernandez had a fatal accident. He died and was found with alcohol and drugs in his system. With over .08 BAC, Fernandez boated while intoxicated. As a result, he had an accident that caused lives to be lost.
What makes boating so dangerous?
There are a few reasons that a boating accident can be so dangerous.
For one, there’s the remoteness of the situation. Often, people go out on boats in a remote place. There is no immediate access to first responders. If you have a boating accident, you could be stuck waiting hours for help. In an emergency situation, even minutes can make a difference. Unlike car accidents, you need to wait for help. A minor injury could turn into something much more serious.
2. Drinking is common
You also need to consider the combination of drinking and boating. Although it’s a bad idea, many people drink on boats. If you encounter another boat with an intoxicated driver, you could be at risk. It’s possible that the other boat could cause a dangerous accident. However, your safe driving could be enough to prevent an accident. Other boaters are reason enough to drive your boat safely.
3. Inexperienced drivers
In many areas, individuals can rent boats without experience. This also adds to the dangers of boating. When you have inexperienced captains on the water, you could find yourself in a bad situation. They may not understand the rules of boating. As a result, they could cause an accident. Once again, your safe driving could prevent a major incident.
If you plan to go boating, you should take a boater’s safety course. This can help you perform better on the water. Additionally, it can help you handle a bad situation on the water.
4. Unpredictable weather
When alcohol or inexperience isn’t a cause of a boating accident, weather usually is to blame. When you’re out on a boat, the weather can turn. And if it does, you could find yourself in rough waters. While you might be capable of handling a few small waves, a rough storm could be too much for you and your boat. You need to pay close attention to the forecast to make sure the weather remains good for boating. If there’s a sudden change in the weather, you could have rough seas.
5. Drowning is a serious risk
When you are in a boating accident, drowning is your biggest risk. In 90% of all boating fatalities, drowning was the cause of death. If your boat capsizes or people go overboard, drowning is likely to occur. Sadly, about 70% of people who are in capsized boats or who end up overboard drown.
Making your passengers wear personal flotation devices is one way to prevent drowning in the event of an accident. In moat drowning deaths, the victims had access to PFDs but didn’t wear them.
When you’re out on a boat, you should be as cautious as you are on the road. You can start by following the rules of boating. If you forgot some of the laws, brush up on your boating skills. Look into taking a boater’s safety course and refresh your boating knowledge. Then, practice what you learn on the open water.
On your boat, you should keep all the necessary boating safety equipment. Be sure to have enough PFDs for all your passengers. Additionally, make sure that they are up to the US Coast Guard Standards. Make sure that you have distress signals. If you have an emergency, you can use the signals to get help quickly.
Finally, you should avoid drinking and boating. In addition to facing legal consequences for your actions, you could cause harm to others. Stay sober while you drive your boat, and keep everyone safe.