Slips, trips and falls are the most common accidents that can incur whether at work, home or whilst boating. These types of accidents can be extremely serious so the need to take care and keep your wits about you is an important part of boating and life in general.
A trip, slip or fall near water and boats has added danger, the risk of drowning, getting crushed or tangled up in the propeller adds to the risk and chance of serious injury.
Don’t leave the helm when the engine's running. If someone falls into the water, they could be injured by the moving propeller. Don’t leave the keys in the ignition unattended. Never run the propeller when the boat’s moored up.
Obstacles such as bollards, rings, ropes and holes on the towpath can be the cause of a trip so keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings.
Surfaces too can be another cause for a fall. So look out for uneven or slippery areas. This is particularly important in wet or icy weather or when there is early morning dew on the ground.
Many falls occur when mooring simply because people aren’t sure of the procedure. Make sure the crew knows what to do when mooring the boat.
What causes falls?
• Trips over ropes, mooring stakes and so on – especially when left untidy
• Walking on narrow decks on boats that tend to rock
• Jumping off or stepping off in a dangerous place
• Slipping on a wet deck
• Moving about the boat or waterside at night
• Too much to drink
• If you are going to bump, warn your crew and passengers
• Always use the grab rail
• Keep your boat tidy
• Don’t jump off the boat when mooring
• Wear non-slip deck-shoes
• Take extra care on towpaths at night. Always use a torch
To wear a life jacket or not?
Our advice is that children, non-swimmers and lone boaters should wear life jackets when they are up on deck. When negotiating strong waters or currents it is safer for everyone on deck to wear a life jacket.
It has to be said that you will be safer if you wear a life jacket or buoyancy garment, but check the conditions and use your common sense.