Sailing is fun, and it brings people together. Whether it’s a hobby or something you’ve put your entire working life into, sailing is important to you. What you do need to know, though, is the danger sailing can pose. If you’re not prepared, a mistake could end up leading to serious injuries or death.

Sailing injuries aren’t uncommon, and some come up more often than others. For example, the most common injury on a sailing vessel is bruising. Bruising isn’t always serious, but it can be in some instances.

How do people end up hurt most of the time? By tripping and falling. Approximately 30 percent of people interviewed about their injuries on keel boats admitted that the injury was a result of a trip or fall. Falling or tripping on board can lead to head injuries, fractures or even ending up in the water.

Preventing injuries is easier than treating them, so something that you can do to prevent falls is to make sure your hatches are closed when not in use. Additionally, remove the boat’s spinnaker pole when you’re not using it on the deck. Make sure to tie lines tightly and to keep them out of the way; getting tangled in them could result in harm including rope burn, which has the potential to be serious.

Getting hit on the head is another potential issue while sailing, so remember to keep an eye on the winds and be aware of your surroundings. Wear head gear and have a higher boom clearance to reduce the risk of injury.

By taking time to prepare for a sailing excursion, you can stay safer. Remember, if you’re hurt as a result of another person’s negligence, you can hold that person responsible for your medical care and other needs.

Source: Yachting & Boating World, “Common sailing injuries and how to avoid them,” Katy Stickland, accessed Jan. 4, 2018