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Beware the Dangers Associated with Boating and Other Watercraft Activities

Boating is a popular recreational activity enjoyed by thousands of people in the state of Virginia. Whether it’s cruising on a serene lake or riding the waves in the Hampton Roads area, boating offers a unique sense of freedom and adventure. However, like any other outdoor activity, boating carries its fair share of risks. Accidents and injuries can occur and often bring with them severe injuries. The following are some of the most common and serious safety issues involved with boating, along with the steps you can take to protect yourself on the water.


Drowning is the most significant and tragic risk associated with boating. It can happen due to various reasons, including boat capsizing, falls overboard, or collisions. Wearing properly fitted life jackets, ensuring everyone on board knows how to swim, and practicing water safety protocols are crucial in preventing drownings.


Slips and falls are common on vessels, especially when the deck is wet or unstable. These falls can result in head and/or back injuries, fractured bones, and more. To minimize your risk of slipping and falling, it’s essential to keep the deck clean and dry, use non-slip surfaces, and provide handrails for support.


Collisions with other boats, docks, or submerged objects are a leading cause of boating injuries. These accidents can cause severe injuries, ranging from cuts and bruises to fractures and traumatic brain injuries. Maintaining a safe speed, staying vigilant, and having proper navigation equipment can help prevent collisions.

Propeller Accidents

Propeller accidents occur when someone comes into contact with a boat’s propeller, leading to severe lacerations, amputations, or even death. It’s crucial to educate passengers about the potential dangers and establish clear safety protocols to prevent anyone from swimming near the boat’s propeller.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can happen when exhaust fumes accumulate on or near the boat. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and loss of consciousness. Properly ventilating the boat and installing carbon monoxide detectors can help prevent such incidents.


Fires and explosions can occur on boats due to fuel leaks, faulty electrical systems, or improper handling of flammable materials. Burns can cause severe injuries, including tissue damage and scarring. Regular maintenance and inspections, as well as following safety guidelines, can significantly reduce the risk of fires.


Cold water and exposure to cold weather can cause hypothermia, a potentially life-threatening condition. Wearing appropriate clothing, including a life jacket, and being aware of weather conditions are crucial to preventing hypothermia.

Legal Options for Norfolk Boating Accidents

While boating injuries can be serious, many of them are preventable through proper education, awareness, and adherence to safety guidelines. Boaters should take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of their passengers by equipping themselves with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate the waters safely.

Unfortunately, no matter how safe you may be, too many other boaters fail to adhere to these safety guidelines. If you have been injured in a boating accident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to meet with one of our dedicated Norfolk boat accident lawyers and find out what legal recourse you may have. Call our office to schedule a free case evaluation.





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