Face it—accidents still happen, no matter how prepared you are. This chapter will teach you how to prevent accidents, and what to do when you can't. It includes several "what if" cases taken from real boating accidents, to help you recognize dangers, rescue injured people and prevent accidents.
Knowing how to prevent accidents and rescue others will give you more confidence and make your time on the water more enjoyable.
Trends in Boating Accidents
As in any other sport, an accident can always happen. Among the national trends:
^ Ninety-two percent of boating deaths happen when small boats capsize, passengers fall overboard, or boats collide.
^ As the number of youth operators continues to increase, accidents involving young people, and the injuries and deaths resulting from these accidents remain high.
^ Personal watercraft continue to be involved in nearly half of the accidents that cause injuries and property damage. Sixty-five percent of youth operators involved in accidents were under 16 years old, and 93 percent of youth operators involved in accidents were operating personal watercraft.
The Causes of Accidents
^ U.S. Coast Guard boating accident numbers show that a high percentage of boating accidents, especially deadly accidents, occur when operators used poor judgment, didn't pay attention, did not have enough experience, and behaved wildly.
^ Many accidents, especially those that cause serious injury or death, happen when boaters drink alcohol.
^ Many accidents happen because boaters don't have the right equipment, or any safety equipment at all. Accidents also happen when operators don't know how to use their equipment, or don't know the limits of their equipment. And they may not maintain their equipment correctly.
^ Current trend shows more than 70 percent of personal watercraft involved in accidents in California were either borrowed or rented.
You will learn:
♦ Trends and causes of boating accidents
♦ Basics of accident prevention and rescue
♦ Prevention and rescue methods for environmental hazards
♦ Basic rescue for water activities, such as capsizing, person overboard, collision, grounding and water skiing
FOR THE MOST RECENT CALIFORNIA ACCIDENT SUMMARY AND STATISTICS, CONSULT WEBSITE:
www.d bw.ca .gov/ SafetyReports.htm
Basics of Prevention
^ Know and practice the basic safety guidelines and the law for your type of boating.
^ Always carry the proper safety equipment and know how to use it.
^ Have a properly fitted, U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD for everyone aboard when boating.
^ Have the proper clothing for your type of boating and for the weather and water conditions.
^ Be water safe by knowing how to swim and tread water.
^ Always boat carefully and with good judgment. Stay within the limits of your boating skills and equipment.
^ Never boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs—it is against the law, and extremely dangerous to you and others.
^ The first rule of any rescue situation is to never put yourself or other rescuers in danger when trying to help someone. You don't want to become a victim and make the situation worse.
^ Stay calm. Be sure to carefully judge the situation and condition of the people involved.
^ Plan how to use your own and others' experience and resources to deal with the situation. Experience is a key resource in any type of emergency situation.
^ Call for help on a phone or VHF radio.
^ If the group size allows, send two or more persons together to get help.
^ If you send someone for help, be sure the person knows the details of the situation, knows where to find a phone or other means of communication, knows who to contact, and either directs rescuers to the accident scene or returns to the scene of the accident after successfully contacting authorities.
^ Seek basic training in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and life-saving skills.
EACH SECTION BELOW INCLUDES THREE PARTS:
Guidelines for prevention, suggested techniques for rescue, and actual case studies. You should be able to read the case study and point out what the person(s) did right or wrong, what the person(s) could have done differently, and how you would react to the situation. Chapter headings at the beginning of each section point out the location of more detailed information on the topic.
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