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Alabama Drowning Fatalities Happen to People of Any Age

Nov 27, 2015 - Personal Injury, Tuscaloosa by

November might not be the ideal time to jump into an outdoor swimming pool, but with local high temperatures ranging at nearly 70 degrees, water activities remains a real possibility for boating enthusiasts. Our Tuscaloosa accident attorneys believe that anytime water recreation is possible is a good time to remind people of the dangers of drowning accidents. Just as important, understand that the risk of drowning is very real for adults, as well as for children.

Adults May Face Greater Risk of Drowning When Children are in School

Even during the summer months, adults are at risk of drowning. According to Alabama Media Group, Alabama saw 69 drowning deaths according to most recent statistics from 2013. Even though drowning is considered to be the number one cause of death in children, that same article cites five drowning deaths within the prior week that involved victims with ages ranging from teens to 63.

Once children are back in school, adults often take the opportunity for adult-only boating trips, and they may be likely to engage in more risky behavior when no kids are present. Unfortunately, 2014 statistics indicate that alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. While these deaths may pertain to intoxicated operators, alcohol use by victims can lead to their deaths, as well.

Tips for Preventing Adult Drowning Incidents

Whether they ride in motorboats, enjoy personal watercraft, head out in a non-motorized boat or even jump in for a cool swim, adults need to take safety seriously any time of year. The following tips can help:

  • Use the buddy system: Even the best swimmers can experience unexpected situations in the water — from a blow to the head from a floating object, to a sudden medical emergency. The best chances for survival require a companion who can deliver immediate assistance or call for help. In fact, two buddies are even better than one.
  • Say “no” to alcohol: Naturally, no one on the water should be intoxicated. Passengers should never board a boat when they know the operator has been drinking (or plans to do so). Just as important, however, passengers should be sober when they board a vessel and remain so during the trip. Even larger boats can capsize due to inexperienced operator handling or even during an unexpected storm. All passengers need to rely on their full faculties to get to safety and help others.
  • Check on vessel maintenance: Equipment failure is among the top 10 known primary contributing factors of accidents. Do not be embarrassed to ask operators if a vessel has received a recent checkup or if it has a history of prior malfunctions.
  • Use life jackets: About 84 percent of all drowning victims did not wear a life jacket. Do not assume that strong swimmers are immune from drowning. Particularly when the water temperatures are a bit cooler, sudden immersion can literally take the breath away. Water temperatures less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit can cause hypothermia, and it can take only a few minutes to lose function.

Of course, no one can control the behavior of others. In the event that anyone sustains injuries or fatalities due to negligent acts of other individuals, they need to seek advice from a legal advocate who understands the complex considerations behind accident injury claims.

Additional Resources:

Unintentional Drowning: Get the Facts, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

2014 Recreational Boating Statistics, U.S. Coast Guard Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety

Other Blog topics:

Alabama Swimming Pool Accidents a Summer Risk, Tuscaloosa personal injury blog

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