In What’s Your H2O (Safety) IQ?, water safety expert witness Dr. David Smith, Commander, USCG (RET) writes:
The following 20 questions were the basis of a key address to the First International Boating and Water Safety Summit, April 18-25, 1997 in San Diego, California. The Summit was sponsored by the National Water Safety Council and The National Safe Boating Council. This article is taken from the proceedings of the Summit. The article has been repeatedly updated to reflect current aquatic accident statistics. Human physiology, by contrast, has not been known to change in the last 10,000 decades.
How well can you answer these twenty boating and water safety questions:
1. [a] How many drowning deaths occur in America annually?
Ans. US total now down to about 4000/yr. per National Safety Council
[b] What is the comparison of men to women drowning victims?
Ans. Four or five to one, males versus females.
[c] Why? Ans. Two reasons: 1. Women have a greater layer of subcutaneous fat making them more buoyant than men. 2. Women do not have to demonstrate machismo. Actually, ladies when relaxed in the water, almost always float horizontally due to their distributed subcutaneous fat. Relaxed men float vertically. [Sexists might say it has to do with a concentration of fat in male skulls.)
2. What three primary factors are shared by most drowning deaths?
Ans. Inability to swim, relatively or absolutely cold water, alcohol/drug impairment.
3. What percentage of drownings involve boats?
Ans. Historically, about one fifth of all water related deaths are due to boating. Recently this has apparently been reduced to one seventh. Remember [especially in July] this catchy saying: Is killing a fifth on the third the best way to start the Fourth?
4. Most boating related deaths are due to _______?
5. [a] How long does it take a child to drown? How long for an adult?
Ans. 20 seconds average for a child, 60 seconds for an adult.
[b] What percentage of drownings are children age four or less?
Ans. 10%. The primary form of accidental death for children under one is drowning.
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