Minimizing the Risk of Drowning While Boating

Summer on the Gulf Coast attracts thousands of people to our lakes and beaches. Water recreation supports our economy, but it’s also potentially dangerous. In 2019, the Coast Guard reported 613 boating-related deaths, and roughly 484 of those were due to drowning. Teenagers and children under five years of age are the two groups most likely to drown.

To keep ourselves safe, we need to mitigate the risk of drowning while we’re out on the water. Today’s blog is about the simple ways we can protect ourselves and our loved ones from drowning on a boat trip.

Simple Ways to Prevent Drowning on a Boat Trip

The Coast Guard reported that in 2019, 86% of drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD). For people over age 14, half of all drownings are related to drug or alcohol use, and 40% of drownings overall occurred when people were in the water alone.

These statistics point toward the key things we can do to stay safe:

  • Always wear a PFD, regardless of how strong a swimmer you are
  • On the day of a trip, get information about weather and water conditions
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or using drugs, both as an operator or passenger
  • Never swim alone, regardless of your swimming experience
  • Note if you’re swimming or boating near swim currents, deep water, or sudden drop-offs
  • Recognize the signs of a drowning person

Follow the simple advice we put above, and you’ll be able to help yourself or your loved one avoid injury—or worse.

The Signs of Drowning

It’s a common misconception that drowning people make a lot of noise when they’re in trouble. People who are drowning can be eerily quiet for an obvious reason: if you’re struggling to breathe, you won’t have enough air to yell. Instead, look for people who are splashing, thrashing, or waving. It may look like playing, but a person can drown in as little as 15 seconds, so be vigilant and extra-cautious.

Another reason to swim with a buddy is that drowning often occurs when no one is looking. Even looking away for a minute or two is enough time for a loved one to be pulled into a current or under the surface. Even the strongest swimmers are at risk in the right conditions, so don’t put too much trust in your abilities. It’s better to wear a PFD, regardless of your age or experience.

Our Louisiana drowning attorneys have helped drowning victims throughout Louisiana get what they needed to recover: medical care, lost wages, and more. We’ve held boating companies, manufacturers, and negligent actors accountable in countless cases, all to help our clients rebuild their lives.

If you were hurt in a drowning accident, speak with Clayton, Frugé & Ward in a free consultation: (225) 209-9943.