Top 60 Boating Tips by Boating Magazine

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


No one ever seems to plan an accident. If they did, I guess it would no longer be an accident. They just seem to happen, don't they? And some of us are accident prone. You know, the guy who falls off his own feet when he's standing still.

Actually, there is an accident causation theory that says someone is responsible for every accident. Who, me? Yes, probably you. Most accidents are a result of errors or unsafe acts committed by people, not by the equipment or environment around them.

Take Clem for example. Wearing a long sleeve shirt, he reached down to see if the shaft packing on his port engine was heating up. His sleeve got caught in the shaft coupling, and he was seriously injured. What caused the accident? Clem did. He never should have been wearing a long sleeve shirt around rotating machinery.

And, how about Will. He was standing on a plastic container trying to reach a fitting on the main mast. The container cracked, slipped out from under him, and poor Will suffered a broken arm in the fall. The container didn't do anything; Will should have been using a proper ladder, or a sturdy step made for standing on. Again, the injured party was the culprit who engineered his own injury.

Then there is Jim. On many occasions, Jim had been warned not to place his feet in the coil formed by the line laying on deck. But, when the line was suddenly snapped tight, so was Jim's ankle, broken in two places as he was dragged across the deck. Is it the fault of the line?

Or Lisa, who refused to wear her PFD, although she was a poor swimmer. They never found her after she went overboard in heavy seas.

There are certainly contributing factors in many accidents. Maybe the shirt was too long for Clem, the plastic container old and brittle for Will. And, maybe nobody yelled when the line was paying out under Jim's feet, and perhaps the skipper should have refused to sail with Lisa without her wearing her life jacket. Sure, we can lay some of the blame on others, but, ultimately, you are responsible for your own safety. As adults, we make choices daily, from deciding what time to get up in the morning, to going to bed at night. You don't let anyone tell you when to brush your teeth, so why let anyone else be responsible for your safety.

With safety, you are either the winner, or the loser. There's no runner up or second place. The prize is life.

Safe Boating.

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