Dangers you face when operating a small boat this summer

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2021 | Water Accidents

A pastime that many people enjoy during the summer months is heading out on the water in their boats. Doing so can prove deadly, though, if you are not careful.

U.S. Army data shows that at least 80% of all boaters who die on the water do so in boats measuring under 26 feet long.

Many of these accidents occur because the skipper lacks extensive experience in operating boats. They often don’t know what safety precautions to take to avoid accidents. This may include steering correctly to avoid striking vessels, swimmers and other obstructions.

These skippers may also speed, operate the boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or in other reckless ways. These behaviors may put everyone’s lives in danger. Capsizing is also a risk.

Why are small boats prone to capsizing?

Smaller boats have a higher likelihood of being overcome with waves and filling up with water, resulting in their capsizing. This outcome often occurs when boats aren’t equipped with the proper pumping equipment necessary to pump accumulated water out of the boat. This accumulation of water tends to seep into the vessel’s control panels rendering the boat inoperable.

Small boats are more likely to capsize because they lack a freeboard, which is the distance between the main deck and waterline. Small boats overloaded with equipment, food or passengers are more likely to capsize the closer the upper edge of the boat is to the water. The vessel may even capsize in relatively calm waters if its maximum load capacity is exceeded.

Why must you know about a small boat’s vulnerabilities?

Many individuals crowd onto a boat for a day out on the water, not considering the implications of making certain choices. These can result in adverse consequences such as someone suffering serious injuries or dying. Your knowledge of safety precautions may stave off accidents. You may want to apprise yourself of your rights if someone’s negligence results in an adverse outcome.

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