My husband and I got an important lesson in looking out for dockside hazards during a recent trip to the marina.
While we were at the marina, a fellow boater fell in the water while putting the cover on the bow of his boat.
I heard him yelling for help, so we ran down the docks to find him. Because of the dock’s height, we couldn’t pull him out of the water.
We dropped the stern ladder on his boat and pushed the boat away from the dock. This allowed him to maneuver between the dock and the boat. Then we helped get him to the stern swim ladder. Although he had some serious injuries, he lived to talk about it.
How would you get out of the water if no one could hear your cry for help? Do you have something to climb onto, provided you’re physically able to do so? We suggest rigging a lightweight ladder so you can get out of the water quickly.
Look around your marina. Is there a life ring you could throw to someone or a lowered swim ladder nearby? If you’re working on a project where you can easily lose your balance and fall in, consider wearing an inflatable personal flotation device. We rigged the swim ladder on our sailboat so we can deploy it from the water.
Other dockside hazards
Cleats pose another dockside hazard. To save your toes from injury, wear shoes instead of flip-flops on the dock. Dock lines also pose a tripping hazard. Falling onto wooden or concrete docks or into the water can result in nasty injuries such as contusions, abrasions, broken bones and head injuries. As you walk down a dock, pay attention to your surroundings. Glance forward as well as down. I have seen quite a few people run head-on into an anchor or the bow of a boat because they were looking down at the dock. –Beth Schwab
Become a better boater
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