Water Safety Expert Witness On Aquatic Accidents Part 4

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:
16. [a] At higher levels of intoxication, approaching 0.2 BAL at night, which two primary colors are difficult to discern?
Ans. Red and green.

[b] What color is the stop light in your car?
Ans. See one of the two colors in 16 [a] immediately above.

[c] What percent of fatal auto accident victims, and presumably boating victims too, have a BAL approaching 0.2?
Ans. Possibly as high as 25%.

17. What percent of serious boating accidents happen on sea coasts or the great lakes?
Ans. 10%.

18. [a] What is the average size of boats involved in fatal accidents?

Ans. Under 16 feet.

[b] How fast is the average boating victim’s craft moving at the time of the fatal accident?
Ans. It’s sitting still or drifting. Remember: most boating deaths are due to drowning when a non PFD wearing, frequently alcohol affected, poor or non swimmer falls out of, capsizes or swamps a small craft. **

[c] What is the primary accidental cause of deaths to hunters?
Ans. Drowning and/or immersion hypothermia.

19. What are the four behavioral effects of imbibing intoxicants ranked from those whose effects first appear at the lowest levels?
Ans. Balance is degraded at relatively low dosages, one or two beers per hour in an average adult male. Next is vision; then sensory integration -going from simultaneous to sequential; then judgment. For more details please request the article: Alcohol and Water Don’t Mix.

20. The basic number of persons required for safe water skiing is two, an operator and a skier.
Ans. Wrong. For the best possible safety situation, three persons should be involved: driver, skier and a specifically designated observer. (The observer is not required in some states if the driver has a wide angle, rear-view mirror.)

* H.E.L.P.= Heat Escape Lessening Position- leaning back in water with ankles crossed, head out of water, arms over chest and knees drawn upward. Best performed when wearing a PFD and previously practiced.

Read more: https://www.jurispro.com/DavidSmithCDRUSCGRET