There is no doubt that boating in Rhode Island is a fun experience. Whether this is your first summer out on the water or you have boated here your entire life, it is important to remember that boating accidents can easily happen. There are various hazards that boaters face that you must be constantly aware of and protecting yourself against.

While inexperience and lack of safety gear can certainly lead to accidents and injuries, this post focuses on hazardous conditions. Here are some common hazards that result in boating accidents.

1. Weather emergencies

The weather can be unpredictable and have serious consequences for boaters. Strong winds can make it difficult to navigate your vessel, which can easily cause an accident. Heavy winds can also cause your boat to capsize or someone in your boat to fall overboard. These situations leave you and any passengers at risk of significant injuries or drowning.

2. Propeller injuries

If you are not careful, you or a passenger could suffer injuries from the propeller on your boat. Propeller injuries usually occur if someone goes overboard and the engine is running. They can also happen if the propeller is not running properly and you try to troubleshoot the problem. Another cause of propeller injuries is if you let someone on the swimming platform while the engine is still running.

3. Carbon monoxide poisoning

You might use generators on or near your boat. Certain generators can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal. If you use generators powered by gasoline with transom exhaust ports, make sure you turn them off when someone is on the swimming platform. Make sure you always keep air flowing through your boat.

Be mindful of these harmful conditions you may face while you are enjoying the beautiful water. Read more about boating hazards, safety tips and laws in the Official Boating Handbook of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.