About the Study Guide

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Risk Management Basics

Because most accidents are the result of a simple mistake, nearly all accidents are easily preventable.

  • The best way to avoid having a serious accident is to take a few simple steps toward accident prevention. The water can be an unfriendly environment if you don't recognize risks and are not properly prepared for them.
  • Risk management is the process of recognizing and acting upon accident warning signs or minimizing the effects of an accident if it does occur.
  • By taking this safety course, you are practicing risk management. You've already reduced the chance that you will be involved in a dangerous boating emergency by learning safe boating practices.
    • You now know the "rules of the road" and how important it is to pay close attention to other boats and potential hazards and to maintain a safe speed. By practicing these rules, you greatly reduce the chance that you'll be involved in an accident.
    • Developing a habit of wearing your life jacket also reduces the chance that you will drown should you find yourself in the water unexpectedly.
  • Below is additional information to help you understand and minimize the risks associated with boating and make your time on the water safe and enjoyable.
Increased Risk Due to Boating Stressors

The glare and heat of the sun, along with the motion of the vessel caused by the wind and the waves and the noise and vibration of the engine, have a large impact on your body that you may not even realize. These natural stressors make you tire more rapidly when on the water—regardless of your age or level of fitness. Many boaters greatly underestimate the effect these stressors have on fatigue.

While perhaps not fatal themselves, stressors may weaken your body and mind enough to make the risk of an accident much greater.

Increased Risk Due to Dehydration

A typical boating day in the summer causes your body to generate a large amount of heat. Sitting exposed in the sun increases your body heat. As you ride in a boat, your body automatically adjusts to the changing position of the boat. The exertion of this constant adjustment increases body heat.

The way the body rids itself of increased heat is by sweating. Increased sweating will cause dehydration if fluids are not replaced. Dehydration will make you more fatigued and more at risk for a boating accident.

The best way to minimize the risk of dehydration is to drink plenty of water—before, during, and after any water activities. A good rule of thumb while you are boating in warm weather is to drink some water every 15-20 minutes.

Besides thirst, other signs of dehydration are a dry mouth, sleepiness, irritability, weakness, dizziness, and a headache. The first thing you should do if you experience any of these symptoms is to drink plenty of water. If possible, get out of the sun and rest. Serious dehydration may require medical attention.