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2 reasons boating accidents happen, and tips to prevent them

Boating accidents are often thought of as large-scale events. You imagine the large sea cruiser going under or the Titanic hitting the fatal iceberg. What you don't think of is a small boat with a few people on the water. The truth is that many boating accidents take place on these smaller boats, which have open bodies. The weather is usually good, and the water isn't always choppy or hard to navigate when they happen. Here are two boating accident causes and what you can do to prevent them.

1. Riding the bow

Riding the bow of a boat is illegal in most states. When you ride on the bow, you leave the possibility of falling overboard. The bow, seatbacks and other parts of the boat aren't designed to hold riders, and that means you could fall overboard easily. If the water is cold, this poses the risk of hypothermia. If you hit your head, there's a potential for drowning.

To prevent bow accidents, stay seated inside the boat when you're moving. If someone does go overboard, don't jump in. Throw a life preserver to him. If the person can't respond, then pull the boat over to him and pull him on board over the stern.

2. Capsizing

Capsizing is when a boat takes on too much water and begins to sink. Some smaller boats actually turn completely over without going under, while other kinds of boats may sink completely. If your boat is partially capsized, known as swamped, then stay with it. Any time you find yourself in the water unexpectedly, put on a life jacket if you aren't wearing one already.

If the boat is small and can be turned back over, do so with the help of those around you and then begin getting back into the boat one at a time over the stern. If you can't get the boat turned back over, pull as much of yourself and others onto the boat as possible. If you stay in the water, there's a risk of tiring yourself out and drowning, and treading water makes you lose body heat.

After an accident like this, it's important to get medical help. If you're capsized or injured because of negligence, then the person responsible for your injuries may be liable. It's your right to pursue a claim for compensation.

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