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The lighter side of - Summer Boating Safety Tips

by Jeni Bone on 24 Dec 2012
Life Jackets are no joking matter .. ©
I couldn't resist sharing some boating safety tips, with a dash of the ridiculous thrown in. Isn't that the best way to educate, or reform? Through ridicule? So here they are - illustrated by Darwin Award winning examples - lap them up!

The Darwin Awards are named in honor of Charles Darwin, the father of evolution, and commemorate those who improve our gene pool by removing themselves from it. Please do remember, safety above all on any waterways this season is NOT to be taken lightly.


1. Always wear a lifejacket or PFD (personal floatation device)

Why? The majority of drowning victims could have been saved if they took the time to wear a lifejacket. Each person on your boat should wear a PFD that fits them snugly and securely. This simple step really does save lives.

And the Darwin Award Goes to...
In 2001, a Montana man decided to take part in a new extreme boating sport: 'snowmoboating'. That's right. He actually used his snowmobile to glide across the surface of the lake, just like skipping a stone across a pond. But this man's hydroplaning adventure ended in tragedy when the snowmobile lost momentum and sank. Sadly, the man wasn't wearing a lifejacket, and drowned within minutes while his friends watched helplessly from the shore.

The Bottom Line: Wearing a lifejacket can save even the most stupid of water sport enthusiasts.

http://DarwinAwards.com/darwin/darwin2001-37.html


2. Avoid alcohol

Why? The probability of being injured on the water doubles when alcohol is involved and studies have also shown that the effects of the sun and wind can make you feel as if you've consumed more alcohol than you actually have.

And the Darwin Award Goes to...
In the mid-1980s, a man sailing on the research ship Regina Maris planned to study whale populations in Greenland. But after a few too many one night he had the inspired idea to try jumping from ice floe to ice floe in the frigid waters of the North Atlantic. His drunken idea quickly turned to danger when the ice crumbled beneath his feet. He was eventually rescued, but he might have died if he had stayed in those freezing waters for just a few minutes longer.

The Bottom Line: Don't drink on the water!

http://DarwinAwards.com/stupid/stupid2009-19.html


3. Check the weather forecast before heading out

Why? You need to know what kind of weather you'll be facing. Always check local weather conditions for boating safety before departure- TV and radio forecasts are sources of information.

And the Darwin Award Goes to...
In 2003, Hurricane Isabel ravaged parts of Virginia. Most Virginia residents knew that the storm was coming...but not 'Blumpkin', a university rugby captain who thought it would be fun to take a canoe ride down the river. Winds were gusting at over 50 MPH, and the waters were churning violently...but Blumpkin was undeterred. Poor Blumpkin. If only he had checked the weather before he left, he might have not been caught in the storm that capsized his boat and took his life.

The Bottom Line: If you notice darkening clouds, volatile and rough changing winds, or sudden drops in temperature, play it safe by getting off the water.

http://DarwinAwards.com/darwin/darwin2003-13.html


4. Use common sense and operate responsibly

Why? If you use common sense, you can avoid nearly all boating accidents. Operate your boat at a safe speed at all times, especially in crowded areas. Be courteous of others using the waterways and obey all boating rules. Be watchful of swimmers and other boaters, and always have a spotter for water-skiers and tube riders. Stay alert, be respectful of buoys, and think before you act.

And the Darwin Award Goes to...
This tale from the Darwin Awards archives takes place in Logmozero, a village in northwestern Russia. A local man was questioned by the authorities when his neighbors revealed that he was using a World War II aviation bomb as an anchor for his boat. The bomb was in working order, and could have been detonated at any time. The man was lucky to never have accidentally set it off.

The Bottom Line: If you don't have common sense, don't go out on a boat. Oh... and never use a bomb as an anchor.

http://DarwinAwards.com/stupid/stupid2010-04.html


5. Learn to swim

Why? You're going to be out on the water. If you don't know how to swim, you're just asking for trouble.

And the Darwin Award Goes to...
We're now on Obonga Lake, 100 miles north of Thunder Bay, Canada. A man took his family out for a boat ride on a hot, sweaty summer day. With temperatures approaching the 90-degree mark, the man decided to cool off by jumping into the lake for a quick dip. There was just one problem: he didn't know how to swim. Why someone who can't swim would dive into a deep lake is a mystery, but since his wife couldn't figure out how to steer the boat over to him, he drowned.

The Bottom Line: Local organizations and others offer training for all ages and abilities - so check to see what classes are offered in your area. Learning to swim is cheap, easy, and could one day save your life.

http://darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin2002-19.html



These and more, at www.safeboater.com/articles/darwin-boating-safety-tips.asp
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