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    When You Are Most Likely to Drown

    When You Are Most Likely to Drown

    Photo By Pamela Doty | By R.J. Garren read more read more



    Story by Pamela Doty 

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Water Safety

    Many people think the time to put on a life jacket is when you’re anticipating a need for it due to on-coming bad weather or based on participating in some riskier activities when you know you’re going to be in the water. Those same people would think it’s ridiculous to apply that “when you may need it” type of logic to the use of another vital safety device, like seat belts. The fact is most fatal water-related accidents happen on sunny, hot days when you would least expect it. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is the leading provider of water-based recreation in the U.S. and they have been collecting water-related fatality statistics since 1998. Their data associated with when people drown may surprise you and hopefully knowing more about it will encourage you to always wear a life jacket.

    The time of day is not always recorded because often in boating and swimming accidents people are unfortunately alone. We’ve all heard “swim with a buddy” since we were kids and boating with a buddy is just as vitally important. Most accidents (80%) happen in boats less than 21 feet in length, according to U.S. Coast Guard statistics. If you don’t have someone with you to help you get back into a small boat, you are most-likely doomed if you’re not wearing a life jacket. When the time of day is known, late afternoon is when most accidents happen. To be specific, the numbers of fatal accidents start increasing by the hour starting at 1:00 p.m., with 4:00 p.m. being the worst time of day. By 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., fatal accidents remain high, but begin decreasing by the hour.

    Anyone who has spent a day on the water knows how exhausting it can be. Late afternoon accidents are typically associated with boater’s hypnosis, caused by the effects of sun, glare, wind, noise, and motion (vibrations) of a boat. These boating stressors can slow your reaction time almost as much as if you were legally intoxicated. Also, people recreating outside often tend to not drink enough water so they become dehydrated, which can make you very tired. Drinking alcohol and caffeinated drinks can have a diuretic effect, which increases urination, and that may decrease hydration and make you tired too.

    The riskiest month for boating and swimming accidents in natural waters (lakes, rivers, etc.) is July with the Fourth of July holiday weekend being the most hazardous. Holiday weekends of Memorial Day and Labor Day follow the Fourth of July weekend as being the most likely times for a water-related fatal accident. Second to the month of July is June, followed by May and August that are fairly even with each other.

    The riskiest day of the week is Saturday with Sunday being a close second. This is followed by Friday and Monday, which almost have the same for number of accidents ending in water-related fatalities. It is speculated that Monday holidays are the reason Mondays are almost as high as Fridays.

    Statistics can tell a story that you’re most likely to drown on a Saturday in July at 4:00 p.m., but the stories from people who have lost loved ones at any time of day, week, and year will tell you that water-related fatalities can happen anytime. That’s why it’s critical to always wear a life jacket. Eighty-eight percent of people who drown were not wearing a life jacket and undoubtedly most of them would still be alive today if they had.



    Date Taken: 08.17.2018
    Date Posted: 08.17.2018 15:03
    Story ID: 289303
    Location: US

    Web Views: 62
    Downloads: 0