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Course Outline

Here are some additional common causes of drowning. For each cause, one or more solutions for trying to prevent drowning are given.

Lacking boating education and skills

Boaters should take a boating safety education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). Other providers include the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron, state providers (such as the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission), and others. The American Canoe Association and the U.S. Sailing Association are examples of other boating safety training and resources.

  • Boating is a favorite American pastime. With so many boaters on our waters, rescue personnel will inevitably respond to boating incidents within their jurisdiction.
  • There are over 12 million registered vessels in the United States. Statistics show that approximately 74% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received no formal boating safety instruction.
  • According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the top five primary contributing factors to accidents are:
    • Operator inattention
    • Operator inexperience
    • Improper lookout
    • Machinery failure
    • Excessive speed
  • Boating injuries and fatalities can be caused by many factors such as:
    • Capsizing
    • Falls overboard
    • Fires or explosions
    • Water sports mishaps
    • Collisions
    • Being struck by the boat or propeller
    • Carbon monoxide exposure
    • Electrocution
    • Swimming away from the vessel
    • Numerous other factors

Lacking aquatic water knowledge

Individual and rescue personnel should learn how to read the water and its hazards.

  • Water is unrelenting and continuous. From the backyard swimming pool to ponds, lakes, rivers, oceans, and ice, individuals and rescue personnel should understand the risks and hazards associated with each. Water comes in many different forms—flat, moving, swift, solid (ice), immediate (flash flooding), warm, cold, deep, and shallow.
  • Flash flooding is the number-one weather-related killer. Driving across flooded roadways and walking near the water are the two primary reasons why people drown during a flash flood.
  • More information is included in Unit 2 of this course.
Boaters struggling with overturned canoe
  • Unit 1 of 4
  • Topic 2 of 2
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