It’s no fun thinking about boating accidents (and, fortunately, your odds of experiencing one are fairly low.) That being said, a bit of forethought can go a long way towards ensuring your safety—even if accidents are the last thing you want to be thinking about before hitting the lake! Here is an interesting breakdown of boating accidents by type provided by the California Department of Boating and Waterways that give you an idea of what to watch out for on the open water.
- 32% of reported boating accidents in 2013 were collisions between two or more boating vehicles.
- 22% involved flooding and/or swamping.
- 13% involved grounding.
- 12% involved sinking.
- 11% of accidents were, in fact, skiing accidents.
- 10% were related to capsizing.
- 8% were man-overboard situations due to a fall.
- 6% were boater-ejections.
- 5% were caused by collision with a fixed object.
- 3% were cause by fire and/or explosion.
- *Note that some accidents involved more than one of the above criteria, which is why the percentages add up to be above 100.
So what can we learn from all of this? First of all, collisions are more common than the average boater assumes! Just because water doesn’t involve “traffic” the same way your morning commute does, doesn’t mean you should take your fellow boaters for granted! Boating collisions can be catastrophic, which is why it is highly important to always be aware and considerate when on the water.
Secondly, we can see that man-overboard situations add up to 14% of all accidents when falls and ejections are added together. This emphasizes the importance of wearing your lifejacket—after all, your life vest won’t do you any good if it is resting in the boat when you end up in the water! Moreover, you may wish to consider investing in an emergency locator beacon in order to assist should such a situation arise.
Finally, it is important to note that water-skiing, while exhilarating, does come with a bit of risk. To minimize the risks, skiers should always be alert, wear life jackets, and avoid skiing while under the influence.
For more boating safety advice, visit Beacon-Watch online today.