How can drowning during boating be prevented?

Updated: Jun 19, 2019
  • Author: G Patricia Cantwell, MD, FCCM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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All individuals involved in boating activities should be able to swim, should use Coast Guard–approved PFDs when on the boat or in the water, and should avoid the use of alcohol or other recreational drugs. Boaters should be taught to anticipate wind, waves, and water temperature and to use protective suits and other insulating garments in cold weather.

Children younger than 14 years should not use personal watercrafts unsupervised by an adult. In 2002, more than 189 children younger than 14 years sustained personal watercraft injuries. [24] In 2000, only one third of children in this age group were wearing PFDs. As of 2009, 38 states had enacted boating safety statutes, requiring children to wear Coast Guard–approved PFDs at all times when on boats or near open water.

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