|Boating Safety Tidbit:
First Aid for Embedded Fish Hook
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- Wash your hands to reduce risk of infection.
- Expose the injured area and inspect the wound,
without touching it.
- Gently place clean dressings around the object.
- Place bulky dressings around the object to
keep it from moving. This will apply pressure
to the wound but not the object.
- Secure the bulky dressings in place with
a narrow bandage; taking extra care to ensure
that pressure is not exerted on the embedded
Boating Safety - It's For Everyone
by: James "Doc" Lewis
Boating, when a few simple rules are followed, is one
of the safest family activities there is. U.S. statistics
show boating is twice as safe as biking, five times as
safe as driving a car, and 24 times as safe as scuba diving.
By practicing safe boating, you will provide a wonderful
pastime for yourselves and give your children a love of
the water that will last them a lifetime.
So What Goes Wrong?
Having made such a sweeping endorsement of the relative
safety of boating, how do we explain the glaring headlines
which we find in the press on an all to regular basis?
Fortunately, for you and me, there are numerous public
agencies which spend a lot of time and money doing the
research and compiling data. After researching their findings
it becomes obvious that a little preparation and planning
can all but eliminate therisks.
Some Pertinent Facts:
The most common accident to passengers and crew is falling
overboard. According to the statistics over 40% of all
fatal boating accidents start this way. It can be avoided
if boaters make sure they have good footing and a good
hand-hold at all times. An, age-old, seafaring reminder,
which I first heard in the Coast Guard, goes like this.
"One hand for the ship, one hand for the sailor."
Children should never be allowed to move about on an underway
boat. If you need to move around on the boat, for any
reason, reduce speed and make sure to get and keep a grip
with at least one hand.
Alcohol and water don't mix. In a Red Cross study, two-thirds
of boating injury victims had consumed alcohol. Almost
40% had an alcohol level above the legal limit. Besides
being illegal, it's dangerous to operate any kind of machinery
while drinking. A boat is no exception.
35% of boating accidents were directly attributable to
alcohol use and the overwhelming primary cause of fatalities
was alcohol-related. If you drink and boat, you are more
likely to be involved in an accident, and once involved,
more likely to die.
53% of fatal boating accident victims drowned, while 39%
suffered trauma and 9% died of other causes.
What About All Those Drownings?
A recent Red Cross study noted 92% of boating-related
drowning victims were either not wearing a PFD or life
jacket or were wearing one incorrectly.
The US Coast Guard is even more to the point, stating
that of the 519 boaters who drowned in the year 2000,
life jackets could have saved the lives of approximately
445 of those boaters who drowned. In 2000, approximately
eight out of every ten victims in fatal boating accidents
were not wearing life jackets.
Always carry enough Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)
for each person on board, and make sure that each of them
knows where they are and how to use them. It's your responsability,
Captain. No one, least of all yourself, wants to hear
that you thought they knew how to put on a PFD. If anyone
won't prove their knowledge of the devise, or buddy up
with someone to teach them, leave them ashore. You'll
both be better off.
Children and non-swimmers should wear one at all times
that the boat is underway. For water-skiing, fishing,
or simply cruising, PFDs are absolutely essential. It's
now even easier to find the ideal PFD because they're
available in a wide array of sizes, colors and patterns.
You can now choose one in your favorite color, or to match
your swimsuit or boat. Just make sure it fits properly!
Does boating education help in preventing accidents?
I can't stress this point enough.
A recent Florida study brought out these interesting facts.
72% of operators involved in boating accidents had no
formal instruction in the operation of a boat.
2.5 times as many accidents involve boaters who have had
no boating safety instruction.
Boating is a wonderful pastime, and lots of fun but, there
are a few things, that one needs to know, in order for
it to be a safe pastime. And don't worry about looking
silly, I've been around boats all my life, (53 years)
and hardly a day goes by that I don't learn something
new or discover a new and better way of doing something.
Two years ago I took a boating safety course with the
idea that, with all my experience, I might be of help
to some of the new people. Fact is, there were so many
things I didn't know, or had forgotten, that I spent a
good deal of time just asking questions. When the class
was over, several of the students came up and thanked
me for asking all the questions they weren't sure how
to ask. Guess I was a help to the new people, after all,
just not in the way I figured.
Weather you are an old "salt", with years of
boating experience, or a "lubber", who gets
lost in the bathtub, do yourself and your loved ones a
favor and take an approved boating safety course. The
time to think through, and plan for a journey in a strange
environment, is before you make the trip.
To prevent ending up in the emergency department as a
result of carelessness during your next boating trip,
the American College of Emergency Physicians recommends
the following safety tips:
* Tell someone when you're going, who is with you and
how long you'll be away. Then check your boat, equipment,
boat balance, engine and fuel supply before leaving.
* Before starting your engine, open hatches, run blower,
and most importantly, carefully sniff for gasoline fumes
in the fuel and engine areas.
* When changing seats, stay low and near center line of
a small boat.
* Always carry life jackets and first aid equipment.
* Watch the weather. Sudden wind shifts, light flashes
and choppy water can mean a storm is brewing.
* If you will be fishing, keep fishing and hunting gear
clean and well packed. A loose fish hook can cause a lot
of pain and ruin a great outing. Bring an extra length
of line to secure boat and equipment.
* Never drink alcoholic beverages on a boat. Being "tipsy"
can result in falling overboard. Your ability to swim
to safety or call for help is greatly reduced as alcohol
So There You Have It
To learn more about safe boating, I'd like to suggest
these Online sources of information. Coast Guard Auxiliary,
or the U.S. Power Squadrons. Our sister-site, Ask-BoatCat.com
offers more tips on boating safety and a complete page
of links to Boating Safety related websites on the Internet.
May all of your boating adventures be joyous and happy
ones, unblemished by the blight of accident or injury.
About The Author
James "Doc" Lewis has been "messin about
in boats" for as long as he can remember. He is owner/operator
of BoatDocs1, a full-service boat detailing-yacht maintenance
business serving the Emerald Coast region of Florida.
To learn more about boats and keeping them looking their
best visit his web site at: http://www.boatdocs1.com/
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