Safety is the most important element to a day on the lake. It's way more important than the best wakesurf board or the fastest boat. (Yeah, yeah, I know. Sounds lame. But true.)
An accident doesn't just ruin your day. It can have serious consequences in the long-run. And lest you think you are too good for accidents, know this: Accidents can happen in any weather condition with an operator with two or twenty years of experience. In fact, the Recreational Boating Statistics report states, “In 2014, the Coast Guard counted 4,064 accidents that involved 610 deaths, 2,678 injuries and approximately $39 million dollars of damage to property as a result of recreational boating accidents.”
Big. Time. Bummer.
Wakesurfing is considered “safer” than other water sports since you drive at lower speeds, but still. Getting out on the water can be risky. Boats collide with other boats and people act carelessly.
So gather 'round. Today we’re talking about the most common boat injuries and what causes them!
Common Boating Injuries
Brain Injuries - Anytime the brain hits the inside of the skull, there can be a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This can happen when your boat collides with something and someone hits their head or gets thrown from the boat and hits the water at a high speed. The result can be a minor concussion, or as severe as the need for ongoing treatment to perform daily tasks like getting dressed or eating.
Spinal Cord Injuries - Spinal cord injuries can cause temporary or permanent paralysis, depending on the severity of the accident. No, thanks.
Drowning - Drowning can happen to even the best swimmers. All it takes is someone being unable to get out of the water in time, due to injury, getting stuck, or inhaling too much water.
Hypothermia - Always consider the weather when going boating. Wear a wetsuit and have a plan in case someone goes overboard in cooler weather.
Non-life threatening injuries - Cuts, scrapes, broken bones or torn ligaments are common when boating. But they're still not fun. Be sure to have a well-stocked first aid kit on the boat in case of minor injuries.
What causes boat injuries?
Although some boating related injuries are purely accidents, injuries can be the result of straight-up carelessness, too. According to the Coast Guard, “Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; where the primary cause was known, it was listed as the leading factor in 21% of deaths.”
Check out the top five causes of accidents:
- Operator inattention
- Improper lookout
- Operator inexperience
- Excessive speed
- Alcohol use
Injuries can occur at anytime, and it’s a team effort to stay safe on the water! Even experienced boaters need to be aware of the dangers and take every precaution to protect the riders with them, including pets!
Make sure you and your people know what to do in case of a collision or other accident. Stay safe out there!