2015 New York Safe Boating - 78
ACCIDENTS AND EMERGENCIES
away than it looks.
Climb on top of an
overturned boat or
any other floating
debris, and try to get
the attention of the
Make sure that you use your navigation lights at night and
during times of restricted visibility; your navigation lights
ensure that other boats can see your boat.
If you have a collision, put on your PFDs and call for help or
use visual distress signals. Check passengers on your boat
and the other boat for injuries. Common collision injuries
are propeller cuts, broken bones, and head, neck and spinal
injuries. Check whether there has been damage to fuel
lines or a fuel spill. If so, try to repair the lines and do what
you can to clean up any spilled fuel. Do your best to avoid
creating any sparks that might ignite spilled fuel.
If you're stuck in the
water with nothing
to climb onto, adopt
the "HELP" position:
Heat Escape Lessening
your PFD, curl into the
fetal position to the
extent possible while keeping your nose and mouth out of the
water. This will help slow the body's heat loss.
Propeller strikes can cause terrible, damaging injuries. A
typical recreational boat propeller can travel from head to
toe on an average person in less than one tenth of a second.
With care, you can avoid propeller injuries.
If you are unable to get out of the water, and someone else is
in the water with you, you can work together to retain body
heat by huddling together. Again, this is most effective if you
are wearing your PFD.
If your boat has an engine cut-off switch lanyard,
wear it at ALL times. If the lanyard is removed from
the switch, the engine will shut off, reducing the risk
Grounding your boat can damage it and injure you and your
passengers. Pay attention to the buoys and channel markers;
they are there to show you the areas of safe passage for
your boat. Be as familiar as you can with the waters that
you are sailing. If a navigation chart for the waterway is
available, get one and use it. If you have a depth sounder or
fish finder, these also can help you to avoid hazards on the
Be very careful to ensure that water skiers are away
from the stern before starting the boat's engine.
Assign someone to keep track of the skier's location
and make sure the skier is well away from the boat
before giving the operator the signal to start.
Consider installing a propeller guard, a safety device
that surrounds the propeller for your boat.
If you ground your boat, first make sure you did not put a
hole in your hull. If your hull is intact, remove extra weight
from the boat in order to refloat it. Pull the boat gently away
from the obstruction, but do not try to back it out under
power. You might damage the hull. If you're in an area
where there are tides, wait for a high tide to float your boat.
If you cannot re-float your boat yourself, call for assistance
or use your visual distress signals to alert other boats of your
Check over the stern before starting your boat
to make sure there's no one in the water. This is
especially important if you're in a slip in a marina.
Keep a constant lookout for swimmers in the water.
Never let anyone exit or board your boat if the key is
in the ignition. Even when idling, the prop can spin.
Collisions are the number one cause of boating accidents
and result in millions of dollars in property damage,
dozens of deaths and an untold number of injuries every
year. Collisions are preventable; you can avoid collisions
by knowing and following the Rules of the Road, and
maintaining a proper lookout. Your responsibility as operator
of a boat is to:
at reasonable speed, and
keep a lookout for other boats or obstructions in the