Boating is immensely popular in Southern California. The fantastic weather and easy access to the Pacific Ocean means that many people turn to boats for leisure, entertainment and employment. If you or a loved one are going to spend any time on boats, it is essential to know which injuries you are at most risk of sustaining.
Below is a summary of the most common boating-related injuries, along with advice preventing them and handling them if or when they occur.
- Drowning: This is your largest risk while boating, as it often leads to death, even among people who consider themselves to be strong swimmers. The best way to prevent drowning is to wear a personal floatation device while on a boat. If someone in your party falls overboard and appears to be drowning, it is vital to get them back onto the ship as soon as possible. If you cannot, then alert the coast guard immediately.
- Brain injuries: Brain injuries are commonly caused by two things on a boat, 1) oxygen deprivation; and 2) impact due to a collision with the shore or another vessel. Prevent brain injuries by practicing safe boating and wearing floatation devices and immediately seeking medical attention if any head trauma occurs.
- Lacerations: Both propellers and fishing hooks can lead to significant lacerations. To prevent these types of injuries, never reach for a propeller while it is in motion, pay attention to anyone swimming near a boat before starting the propeller and treat all fishing equipment with a great deal of caution. If someone onboard suffers a laceration, stop the bleeding as best you can and seek immediate medical attention.
- Whiplash: Whiplash occurs when the neck accelerates rapidly and unexpectedly. Boats can and do accelerate, turn and move quickly, which makes whiplash a relatively common boating injury. Whiplash can be prevented by accelerating slowly and warning everyone onboard of any quick movements. If you believe you have suffered whiplash, stabilize your neck and seek medical attention.
When it comes to boating, following safety procedures become vital. What may seem overly cautious to some is just good boating sense. If you or a loved one are injured while boating, reach out to Karns & Karns for support and representation.