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Recreational Injuries - On the Water

There are many different types of recreational injuries that can occur on the water. The United States Coast Guard keeps annual statistics of recreational injuries that occur on the water.

A large percentage of recreational injuries on the water are boating casualties. There are many different causes of the boating casualties including:

• Negligent operation - This can consist of the recreational boat operator not being experienced and not knowing how to utilize the boat properly such as going too close to other boats or going into a high wave at the wrong direction. It can also occur if the boating operator is intoxicated or allows passengers to be intoxicated causing problems on board. Going too fast on the water causes multiple fatalities and other injuries every year.

• Lack of control by the boat owner or operator - Many casualties are caused by the boat owner or operator not having proper equipment on board the boat such as sufficient life preservers or in not explaining how to use them. Overcrowding by allowing more people on the boat than the manufacturers or Coast Guards maximum capacity promotes the likelihood of casualties. Allowing bow riders as the operator of the boat allows a passenger to ride up on the bow while hitting high waves or crossing over wakes causing the boat to leave the water and smash down causing severe injuries.

• Negligent manufacturing - Product liability can also be a cause of boating casualties as the boat is not manufactured properly including poor designs or the seating not being properly anchored to the boat.

In addition to boating casualties on power boats and sailboats, there are other types of recreational injuries on the water. Some of these injuries are as follows:

• Injuries on personal watercraft such as Jet Skis, Wave Runners or small Jet Boats. These injuries are usually caused by the negligent operation by the operator including driving while intoxicated, going too fast and striking objects, and allowing overcrowding on the personal watercraft.

• Swimmers and divers - People that are enjoying the water by swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving can be injured if doing so in boating or surfing areas, care must be used in not doing these activities in areas that allow boats, personal watercraft or surfing.

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