Is boating dangerous? Some crucial boat safety advice

Is boating dangerous? Boating is often seen as a relaxing and fun form of leisure activity, but there are potential risks involved. Certain safety tips and precautions can certainly minimize the chances of something going wrong out on the water. In addition, it’s important to understand that the risk of danger does exist when boating.

Is boating dangerous? Crucial boat safety advice

Is boating dangerous? Crucial boat safety advice

In this blog post, Scott Ewart explores some common threats associated with boating. Besides, we also give you some crucial boat safety advice. With this knowledge, you can make a plan ahead in order to stay safe while enjoying all that the waterways have to offer.

Is boating dangerous?

Is boating dangerous?

Is boating dangerous?

Yes, it is dangerous if safety precautions are not taken. Knowing more about “kinds of accident causes the most boating deathswill help you prepare necessary skills and knowledge first. For example, it is important to wear a life jacket and make sure the boat has all safety equipment. To keep staying safe, you should always check the weather forecast and equipped with yourself the necessary knowledge.

Some of the riskiest boating conditions

Some of the riskiest boating conditions

Some of the riskiest boating conditions

Electrical shock drowning nearby marina

The water, cables, and power at a marina can be useful for charging batteries or powering lights and equipment on your boat. However, these features can be dangerous.

Surprisingly, a problem with the wiring on a ship can cause deadly fires and even electric shocks. A dangerous thing called “electrical shock downing” can make both swimmers and people trying to save them unable to move in the water. Anyone who touches an electrical field runs the risk of being paralyzed.

Electric Shock Drowning (ESD) is the result of the passage of a typically low level AC current through the body with sufficient force to cause skeletal muscular paralysis


To prevent this situation, you should:

  • Make sure all cables and wires are correctly insulated.
  • Check the integrity of your boat’s electrical system to ensure there are no flaws.
  • Have qualified personnel inspect your boat regularly for potential dangers.
  • Be sure to inquire about a marina’s electrical inspection program and its maintenance procedures. You also ask about its electrostatic discharge protection measures.
  • Report chafing cables, and other electrical system and dock pedestal concerns to marina management.

Faced with carbon monoxide poisoning

Faced with carbon monoxide poisoning

Faced with carbon monoxide poisoning

If a boat has an engine or generator, there is a chance that carbon monoxide could get into the air. This applies to smaller vessels as well, such as those outfitted with outboard engines. Additionally, carbon monoxide can be generated by certain heating systems. The gas is undetectable, has no smell, and has the potential to be fatal quickly.  There are some things you need to do to prevent this situation:

  • Make sure to have the engine inspected regularly by a qualified mechanic and ensure the entire exhaust system is in good working order.
  • The ABYC requires that vessels with enclosed sleeping areas have CO detectors installed.
  • Avoid running any fuel-burning devices while the boat is moored at the dock or anchored.
  • Make sure all passengers and crew know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to respond if they notice any symptoms.
  • Indoor spaces where people gather or sleep should have CO detectors.

Propeller injuries



They are one of the most dangerous and common boating risks. It happens when a swimmer or other object accidentally comes in contact with the propeller and becomes injured. When a boat collides with either an anchored object or another vessel, it can fall overboard. Such accidents may occur even when boaters take proper precautions to avoid mechanical failures. To avoid this situation, you should:

A boat propeller system, consisting of propeller blades attached to the forwardmost portion of a cylindrical housing extending aftward from the propeller blades for increasing the propulsion of the propeller system.


  • Ensure that every individual on the boat is securely and comfortably seated.
  • Under no circumstance should anyone leave the swimming platform while the engine is operational.
  • Avoid areas where divers are present.
  • The engine should be turned off when getting on and off the boat or swimming near the boat.

The dangers of dams

Strong currents above the dams can be hazardous to recreational boaters. The turbulence associated with the large release of water through a dam can create whirlpools and powerful undertows. This can sink boats and endanger those aboard. In addition, debris from the shoreline or lake bottom is sometimes swept up in this fast-moving water. And it can create obstacles for boaters.

Both the areas above and below a dam are dangerous because the water is moving back and forth and is choppy.

Dry drowning

Youngsters are overwhelmingly the most vulnerable to “dry drowning.” A phenomenon that occurs when water enters their lungs and causes their vocal chords to convulse, making it strenuous to breathe.

It can cause difficulty coughing, extreme fatigue, chest pain, trouble sleeping,… Boaters should be cautious of this risk, especially when dealing with inexperienced swimmers or children.

Boating under the influence and other dangerous operating errors

Using alcohol when boating is leading to a great deal of accidents and fatalities. Operating a boat under the influence is illegal in all states, but some people still make this mistake.

It is important to be aware that even a small amount of alcohol can impair judgment, balance, and reaction time.

The dangers of cold water and hypothermia

Cold water can pose a risk to boaters even if they are wearing a life jacket. Cold water temperatures can cause hypothermia. This is a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment. Boaters should always be prepared with the proper clothing and safety gear when going out on cold waters.

Some crucial boat safety advice

Crucial boat safety advice

Some crucial boat safety advice

Make use of a pre-trip checklist

Using a pre-trip checklist can help make sure that everything that needs to be checked and prepared is done before you leave. This includes checking the fuel, oil levels, bilge pumps, navigation lights, oil and coolant levels, and other devices.

Give someone else know your journey

It’s important to inform someone else who is not going with you about your plans when out on the water. Let them know where you’ll be, for how long, the route you plan to take, and the number of passengers on board. That way, if something does happen and you don’t return as planned, help can be sent your way.

Keep your distance from your boat’s engine

All swimmers, watersports enthusiasts, and anyone in close proximity to your boat should steer clear of the vessel’s engine. Operators must ensure that no one is near their motors while they are in the water.

Bring necessary items and dress suitable

The temperature on the water can differ significantly from that on land. Make sure you have layers to adjust accordingly and items such as sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses. Make sure you are dressed properly for the activity that you plan to engage in.

Provide enough water for yourself and your passengers

It is important to bring enough water with you for yourself and any passengers. Dehydration can be a real risk when spending time on the water. Make sure to also pack snacks in case you and your passengers get hungry.

Notice for passengers about safety processes and items

Before you and your passengers get on the boat, it is important to go over safety protocols. Make sure everyone knows where all of the safety items are located, such as life vests and the fire extinguisher. Ensure everyone is aware of any rules that are in place when on the boat.

In addition to the tips above, you can find more knowledge on how to prevent boating accidents here. This is considered as a guide for you to enjoy your beach trip to the fullest

Extra safety advice for boating in different waterbodies

Extra safety advice for boating in different waterbodies

Extra safety advice for boating in different waterbodies

Boating in the river

  • Always stay alert, as the water levels can change quickly.
  • Monitor your surroundings at all times for debris or other obstacles that may be hidden beneath the surface.
  • You may strike stones or other water hazards when water levels drop.
  • You may not know where rocks, tree stumps, or other impediments are under a body of water if you are unfamiliar with it.
  • A winding river will obscure your view at curves. To avoid colliding with them, boaters should maintain their right and observe carefully.

Boating in lake

  • Dam-controlled lake water levels.
  • When boating in the lake, you may encounter boulders, stumps, shoals, and other obstructions.
  • Lakes, like rivers, may have significant traffic, especially on weekends.
  • The wind creates high water. Even experienced operators find this difficult.

Boating in oceans or seas

  • Monitor marine weather forecasts before boating to ensure a safe voyage.
  • Learn the local navigation rules and regulations, as well as any danger zones.
  • Understand the impact of tides and currents on your vessel’s speed and direction.
  • Boating in the ocean or the sea is more difficult than in lakes or rivers, particularly during hurricane season.
  • Little recreational boats and personal watercraft struggle with heavy ocean waves.
  • Unless you’re confident in your boating skills, don’t go too far out from the shore.
  • Ocean swimming is risky because of undertows and other currents. More dangerously, sharks and other creatures may attack you.

FAQs Is boating dangerous?

What risks exist when boating?

Some risks include dams, submerged objects, cold water, fast changing weather, sun stroke when boating. Boaters need to be aware of the dangers and take extra precautions when boating, such as wearing a life jacket.

Is being on a boat riskier than driving?

Most of the time, boating is more dangerous than driving because weather and water conditions can change quickly. Boats can easily capsize, and other boaters may not be able to see you.

Why is boating so nerve-wracking?

The boat rocking back and forth and the engine’s constant roar are both stressors. Other common causes include vibrations and engine noise. When all of these things happen at once, it can lead to fatigue for boaters. A sudden feeling of exhaustion will make it hard for boaters to think, react, and stay balanced.

What is the most critical part of boating?

The most critical part of boating is staying alert. This will help them stay safe when boating.


Is boating dangerous? It can be. But if you take the proper precautions and follow common-sense rules, you can minimize the risks and have a great time on the water. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced boater, it’s always a good idea to review some basic safety tips before heading out. And remember, when in doubt, don’t go out. Check the weather forecast and wave conditions to make sure they are within your skill level. By following these simple guidelines, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. If you want to find out more information, please visit!


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