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Safety on the waterfront.

This safety training awareness brief is on spring/summer boating and water safety. This brief will focus on boating, personal water craft safety and reviews the National Safe Boating Campaign. Please review the following slides and ensure all personnel do so as well. Some of the issues addressed and tips in these briefs are basic but may be things that we need to be reminded of.


Safe Boating Week


May 16-22, 2009 is National Safe Boating Week

The theme of the 2009 campaign is “Wear It” promoting life jacket use.

Wearing Life Jackets saves lives.

Boater Education saves lives.

Sober Boating saves lives

Safe boating involves:

Knowing the waters you plan to operate on.

Wearing a life jacket near water, even when you’re not in a boat.

Be a responsible operator and be prepared.

In the U.S. for 2007, there were 685 boating fatalities reported. Injuries and property damage increased nationally for the 3rd consecutive year. 70% of the fatalities involved drowning. 90% of the victims who drowned were NOT wearing a life jacket.

Don’t believe it could happen to you? Well, it does happen in Florida to an average of almost one person each week who never thought it could happen to them either.

In the state of Florida there were 44 drowning deaths, in Alabama there were 6. All boating statistics for the state of Florida increased.




Although nationally fatalities decreased, injuries and reported accidents increased. There were 3673 injuries and a total of 5191 reported accidents.

Over 1/2 of the boating accidents and fatalities were due to unsafe operation of the vessel including: operator inattention, careless/reckless operation, passenger/skier behavior, excessive speed, and alcohol use.

In Florida there were a total of 663 boating accidents with 387 injuries and 75 fatalities.

In Alabama there were a total of 96 boating accidents with 50 injuries and 11 fatalities.

Nationally 111 drowning deaths occurred in kayaks, canoes and personal watercraft (jet skis etc..). 192 drowning deaths occurred on motorboats of < 16’ in length.

Roughly 476 lives could have been saved if boaters had simply worn their life jackets.

Half of the vessels involved in either boating accidents or fatalities didn’t even have life jackets onboard!


Perception Vs. Reality

Perception: The big open waters like the Gulf or Atlantic are where boaters are at greatest risk.


Reality: Only a small percentage of accidents occur in offshore waters, most accidents occur on calm, inland or near-shore waters.

Perception: If everyone had the proper safety equipment on their boats, then people wouldn’t be drowning as a result of boating accidents.

Reality: While having the proper safety equipment is required and smart, the problem is the equipment not being worn when the victim ends up in the water. You can’t pause life at the instant before a car crash to buckle your seat belt, so why should we think we can wait until tragedy strikes to put on a life jacket.

Perception: Its all the young, inexperienced boat operators who are causing the problems.

Reality: The vast majority of operators involved in boating accidents are 36 years of age and older.



All recreational boats must carry one Type I, II, III, or V (wearable) Personal Flotation Device (PFD) for each person on board.

Boats 16’ or over must carry a Type IV throwable PFD.

Water skiers are considered onboard the vessel and must wear a PFD.

PFD’s must be immediately available for use, not stored in plastic bags, closed or locked in compartments or have other gear stowed on top of them.

If your boat does not have a maximum capacity plate, you can determine the maximum capacity for your boat by the following formula:

Boat Length X Boat Width



Boating Under the Influence


Boating Under the Influence or BUI is just as deadly as drinking and driving on land. It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in every state.

Nationally, alcohol was a factor in 157 boating fatalities. There were 20 boating fatalities in the state of Florida involving alcohol (nearly double the amount in 2006) and 3 in the state of Alabama.

The marine environment – motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray – accelerates a drinker's impairment. These stressors cause fatigue that makes a boat operator's coordination, judgment and reaction time decline even faster when using alcohol.

Boat operators are often less experienced and less confident on the water than on the highway. Recreational boaters don't have the benefit of experiencing daily boat operation. In fact, boaters average only 110 hours on the water per year.



Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

Boating, fishing and other water sports are fun in their own right. Alcohol can turn a great day on the water into the tragedy of a lifetime.

The Coast Guard and every state have stringent penalties for violating BUI laws. Penalties can include large fines, suspension or revocation of boat operator privileges, and jail terms. The Coast Guard and the states cooperate fully in enforcement in order to remove impaired boat operators from the waters.

Take along a variety of cool drinks, such as water, soda, tea, lemonade, bring plenty of food and snacks. Wear clothes that will help keep you and your passengers cool. Plan to limit your trip to a reasonable time to avoid fatigue. Having no alcohol while aboard is the safest way to enjoy the water — intoxicated passengers are also at risk of injury and falls overboard. Spread the word on the dangers of BUI. Many recreational boaters forget that a boat is a vehicle - and that safe operation is a legal and personal responsibility.


Boating and Carbon Monoxide


CO (carbon monoxide) is a potentially deadly gas produced any time gasoline, propane, charcoal or oil burns. Sources on your boat include engines, generators, cooking ranges, and space and water heaters. Cold or poorly tuned engines produce more CO than warm, properly tuned engines.

CO enters your bloodstream through the lungs and displaces the oxygen your body needs. Prolonged exposure to low concentrations or very short exposure to high concentrations can lead to death.

Exhaust leaks, the leading cause of death by CO, can allow CO to move throughout the boat into enclosed areas. Using rear deck swim platforms with engines running and /or dragging behind a slow moving boat are other potentially deadly sources .

Regular maintenance and proper boat operation can reduce the risk of injury from carbon monoxide.



Safe Boating Tips

Enroll in a boating course and learn how to swim.

Install and maintain a CO detector in accommodation areas. You can be exposed to dangerous CO levels both outside and inside the boat.

Watch the weather and respect it. If you can see or hear a storm get off the water.

File a float plan with a friend/relative.

Never operate a boat while or after drinking alcohol.

Buckle up with a life jacket.

List CPR instructions and a local emergency number on the boat.

Maintain constant supervision of children regardless of swimming abilities or use of life jackets.

Do not swim or wade near a boats exhaust pip, sit on the swim platform when the engine is running or hold onto the deck while the boat is moving.


#1 Collision with a vessel

#2 Collision with a fixed object

#3 Skier Mishap

#4 Falls Overboard

#5 Capsizing


#1 Operator Inattention

#2 Reckless Operation

#3 Passenger Behavior

#4 Excessive Speed

#5 Alcohol Use

#6 No proper lookout

#7 Operator Inexperience

#8 Machinery Failure

#9 Weather

#10 Equipment failure

More Boating Accident Statistics

The top 5 types of boating accidents in 2007 were:

The top 10 contributing factors were:



Personal Water Craft (PWC)

In 2007, 982 people were injured while operating PWC’s, 67 of them lost their lives. Of the 6,932 vessels involved in boating accidents, 1,655 involved PWCs. Over 1,051 of those involved collisions with another vessel and 81 involved collisions with a fixed object.

In contrast to boating accidents, a large portion of fatal PWC accident victims die from blunt-force trauma. 75% of PWC accidents are collisions.

75% of vessel operators involved in fatal accidents received NO boating/vessel operation instruction of any kind. Take the time to LEARN safe boating, you owe it to your passengers and everyone else on and in the water.

Learn local laws and regulations. Some states have special laws governing the use of personal water craft (PWC) which address operations, registration and licensing requirements, education, required safety equipment and minimum operating ages. Learn to swim and take the time to be SAFE.

Nationally in 2007, 32 deaths and 293 injuries were associated with rented water craft/vessels.



Operate your PWC with courtesy/common sense. Follow the traffic patterns, obey no-wake and speed zones. Use extreme caution around swimmers/surfers. Run your PWC at a slow speed until the craft is away from shore, swimming areas, and docks. Avoid passing close to other boats and jumping wakes.

WEAR a Coast Guard approved LIFE JACKET.

Ride with a buddy. PWCs should always travel in groups of two or three. You never know when an emergency might occur. Alcohol and operating a PWC doesn’t mix. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance, and coordination.

No one under the age of 14 may operate a personal water craft (PWC) on Florida waters at any time. Personnel are reminded that no one under the age of 18 may rent/lease a PWC. It is also illegal for the owner of a PWC to knowingly allow a person under the age of 14 to operate a PWC.



General Water Safety Tips

Learn to swim. Never swim alone. Swim in areas supervised by a lifeguard.

Watch out for the dangerous “too’s” – too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.

Children or inexperienced swimmers should wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device (PFD) when around or near the water.

Pay attention to local weather conditions. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.

Read and obey all rules and posted signs.

Set water safety rules for the whole family based on swimming abilities.

Be knowledgeable of the water environment you are in and its potential hazards, such as deep and shallow areas, currents, depth changes, obstructions.



General Water Safety Tips

If you want to sail/windsurf/scuba or any other water sport take lessons from a properly qualified instructor.

When water skiing always watch the water ahead of you. Have an extra person onboard to watch and help the skier. Don’t ski at night or in restricted areas. Use proper hand signals. Be sure both the boat and equipment are in good working condition.

Use a feet-first entry when entering the water.

Never leave a child unobserved around water period.

Stay away from piers, pilings and diving platforms when in the water

Never dive/snorkel/surf or swim alone.

If you are going tubing/rafting and using a tour company, make sure the guides are qualified. Check with the Chamber of Commerce for accredited tour guides and companies. Don’t overload the raft, always wear an approved life jacket.


The End

The more informed you are, the more aware you will be of hazards and safe practices to lessen your risk of injury. Have fun in the water but be safe so you can enjoy more spring and summer activity.