How to save a life following cold water boating accident
Posted on behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Nov 06, 2014 in Boating Accidents
In our previous post we discussed two additional risks that individuals who engage in cold water boating might face. Though hypothermia and cold shock can be deadly, if certain precautions are taken, they don’t need to be. In this post we will address some of the ways that those taking to the water this time of year can state safer.
The first is to dress appropriately. Cold-water survival suits worn under clothing can go a long way toward containing the body heat of someone who goes overboard--at least long enough for them to be rescued. When individuals opt to not wear a cold-water suit, a waterproof outer layer that has gaskets at the ankles, waist neck and wrist is a good way to go. In addition, in either situation, a life jacket is essential, preferably one that has something reflective, as well as a horn or whistle, attached to it.
Next, it is a good idea to always go with someone when you head out in a boat. Creating a float plan and leaving a copy of it with on shore could make the difference between being found and succumbing to the elements. Making sure the boat is equipped with items such as a rope overside, a boarding ladder and bailing equipment could come in handy as well.
Should someone with you suffer from hypothermia while out on the water getting that person into dry clothes as soon as possible is vital. Someone with a mild version of the symptoms should be provided sweet beverages that are warm but not laden with caffeine or alcohol. Beverages should be foregone when the symptoms indicate moderate hypothermia, and medical attention should be sought in a timely manner.
When someone appears to have severe hypothermia, that individual is in serious danger and may even be unconscious. Even if he or she does not appear to have a pulse or be breathing, the instinct to perform CPR should be avoided. This is because it could actually lead to cardiac arrest. The best course of action is to get that person into dry clothes—even if they appear dead—and seek medical help immediately.
There are multiple reasons why boating accidents occur, regardless of the time or year or temperatures. When negligence on the part of another is believed to have played a role, a personal injury lawsuit may be appropriate.
Source: American Boating Association, “Hypothermia and Cold Shock - The Risks of Off Season Boating" Pete Seidel, Accessed Nov. 5, 2014