Boating is a hobby that is much safer than it sounds. When compared to traveling in a car, it’s one of the safest activities out there.
Still, a boat is not quite as safe as an airplane. Recreational boating fatalities are still at around 5.4 per 100,000, while airplane fatalities are 1 per 100,000. While the numbers are dropping every year, there are still safety measures that should be heeded on the open water.
Surprisingly, the most common causes of boating fatalities have nothing to do with the weather. Keep reading to find out what type of boating emergency causes the most fatalities.
What Type of Boating Emergency Causes the Most Fatalities?
Most people probably think that boating accidents are commonly caused by bad weather. This is likely due to how boating accidents are portrayed in movies and television. The real causes of most boating accidents are listed below.
Insufficient Lookout or Attention
The most common cause of boating fatalities is operator inattention. Eating, drinking, talking, reading, texting, or using other electronics are all forms of inattention that commonly lead to boating accidents.
Boater inattention statistics are often combined with insufficient boater lookout. This is also a form of inattention. Sometimes, other people in the water can be difficult to spot without careful lookout. If the boater is inattentive, the lookout quality is poor and other people in the water can die.
If you hit someone with your boat, make sure to call an air ambulance immediately for help.
Boating Under the Influence
Operating a boat under the influence of any mind-altering substances is a bad idea. Most often, the culprit is alcohol. It’s fun to take the boat out and party, but make sure someone with a boating license volunteers to be the designated driver and remains sober.
Not only will this protect everyone, but will also prevent expensive legal trouble.
Lack of Experience
Anyone new to boating should always bring an experienced boater onboard. Boating accidents are prone to happen with inexperienced boaters, especially while docking. If possible, look for boating courses in your area to improve your boating knowledge.
Boats are powerful machines. Mechanical failure or contact with dangerous machine parts can cause serious injuries and fatalities. Make sure to keep the boat engine in good shape and take extra caution around the propellors.
The most important safety precaution while operating a boat is to remain attentive. Have friends or family handle any electronics or maps while in motion. If you need to eat, stop the boat and take a break.
Other important safety precautions include wearing life jackets, carrying safety gear, and taking a safety course to improve your experience.
Preventing Boating Fatalities
What type of boating emergency causes the most fatalities? The type due to human error, not acts of God. For the benefit of yourself, everyone on the boat, or anyone else in the water, make sure to take the right safety precautions before taking the boat out and while you are on the water.