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Before You Go Boating

Aug 17, 2007
There are several things to consider when it comes to boating safety. Each year in the United States, hundreds of fatalities occur due to a variety of factors related to recreational boating.

In this article program, we will focus on boating safety requirements and topics that every recreational boater should know about before engaging in this enjoyable yet potentially hazardous activity.

When is it a requirement to file a boating accident report?

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, you must file a formal written report of an accident you were involved in when someone dies, is injured outside of first aid, when damage or loss of a vessel amounts to more than $2,000, or if any person on board disappears.

A person must file a boating accident report within 48 hours if the disaster involves death or within a 24-hour period after the accident or sustaining injuries beyond first aid. With property damage or loss, a person involved must report the incident within 10 days.

Who should wear life jackets?

The kind of boating activity you will be engaging in, what kind of water conditions you will be around, and how far away from the shore you will be, is going to determine what kind of life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) is suitable for you to wear.

You should always wear a PFD that is approved by the US Coast Guard with any type of boating activity, regardless of your age or experience. Accidents happen, so boat safely.

What kind of lifejackets are there?

There are five main types of life jackets or personal flotation devices approved by the US Coast Guard. They range from Type I to Type V. Type I, II, and III are mainly worn by recreational boaters, while Type IV are throwable devices such as life preservers. Type I is an offshore life jacket.

These PFDs are better suited for open or rough waters and are designed to turn unconscious victims face up in the water. Type II is a near shore buoyancy vest, made for calm waters where rescue is almost immediate. This is best for people that are conscious and do not need help keeping their head above water.

Type III is simply called a flotation aid, favored by operators of canoes, kayaks, and sailboat racers. Type IV are throwable devices used in heavy boat traffic areas, and should only be thrown by one who is has been trained to do so.

They are usually in the shape of rings or cushions. Type V PFD's are special purpose life jackets. They are worn during specific water activities such as white water rafting and may also be better suited for cooler climates.

What is a safe speed limit on the water?

There is no set speed while on the water. Yet traveling on a boat at a safe speed can help prevent potential accidents, so ensure your passengers feel safe and enjoy themselves.

If you feel that you or someone else could possibly be tossed overboard from the speed of the boat, you are likely going too fast. If you happen to be bouncing out of your seat while traveling, you are going too fast for comfort and safety.

What are the different symptoms and treatments for Hypothermia?

The body goes through three stages during hypothermia. The first is mild hypothermia. At this stage, a person begins to feel extremely cold. They may start to shake violently, and their speech may become slurred. Treatment involves removing wet clothing, moving the victim to a warmer place, supplying hot liquids (not coffee or alcohol), and keeping the person warm.

The next stage is moderate hypothermia, which has symptoms that include drowsiness, exhaustion, fatigue, incoherence, and possibly loss of muscle control. Treating this stage of hypothermia is much like the first stage, but the victim should also be covered with warm clothing or blankets, and should receive medical attention right away.

With severe hypothermia, the victim may collapse and become unconscious. They may also start to show signs of respiratory trouble. If medical help has not yet arrived, do your best to keep the victim immobile.

Continue to keep the person warm without stimulating blood circulation in the arms or legs. Doing so could cause cardiac arrest if the cold blood reaches their core.
About the Author
Boating is all about fun and Mike Selvon's portal will expand your horizon on boating safety requirements. Visit us to receive your free gift and leave a comment at our boating blog.
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