Boating Safety

Safety on the boat is vitally important. Help can be quite some time away and it's very easy to a benign situation to turn hazardous. Worse, because many are not aware of the hidden dangers, they're not alway obvious, they don't recognize risky situations and behaviors. While learning from our mistakes can be a powerful lesson, making those mistakes can be far too costly. Here, I advocate an alternative, learn from the mistakes of others.

Alcohol And Swimming

[T]he victim was a good swimmer and in good health. She probably had considerably less to drink than some of the others on the boat. Her dinner, according to police interviews with her peers, consisted of a salad and two glasses of white wine. A combination of alcohol, too few carbohydrates, and exercise — in this case, swimming — meant that she ran the risk of developing hypoglycemia, which is a drastic reduction in a person's glucose levels. Hypoglycemia causes sudden weakness, confusion and affects the body's normal temperature-regulating mechanisms. Medical researchers warn that alcohol and aquatic exercise without taking sufficient carbohydrates represents a "foolish confrontation with death."

Seventy five percent of all boating deaths are the result of drowning, according to the Coast Guard. And while estimates vary, studies have shown that alcohol may have been a factor in about 50 percent of all adult drowning deaths. Some studies put the figure as high as 70 percent.


Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning

The new captain jumped from the deck, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim and headed straight for a couple who were swimming between their anchored sportfish and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other, and she had screamed, but now they were just standing neck-deep on a sandbar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard toward him. “Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not 10 feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears and screamed, “Daddy!”

ESD Or Drowning?

So you're standing on a dock, and you see someone struggling in the water. Is the person drowning? Or suffering from Electric Shock Drowning (ESD)? We all know what drowning is — a swimmer gets water into his or her lungs, has difficulty breathing, and cannot stay afloat. ESD occurs when very small amounts of alternating current (AC) in fresh water cause a swimmer to suffer paralysis or even electrocution. Awareness of ESD has been increasing, but too many people who spend time around fresh water haven't yet heard of it.