Summer is fast approaching, and here in Waynesville, some of the most popular activities involve water sports on the Nantahala River and various creeks.
However, our Waynesville injury lawyers also know that these activities can be as treacherous as they are enjoyable, so it’s important to make safety a priority, whether you’re riding an inner tube or a raft or paddling on a canoe or kayak.
Just a few years ago, a kayaking instructor was killed after braving rapids in the Great Smoky Mountains national park.
And just a few days ago in Washington state, emergency officials had responded to a call of an inner tube raft overturning, dumping a man and a woman overboard. They were missing for some time, but both were eventually found. Sadly, the man was pronounced dead at the scene and the woman was transported to a nearby hospital in critical condition.
A lot of the safety precautions you will bear in mind for one water sport will also apply to others.
For example, the National Safety Council, in conjunction with the American Canoe Association, recently released a list of the following safety tips to keep in mind for those taking out a canoe:
- Be a competent swimmer. Otherwise, you risk the lives of others on your trip.
- Take a canoeing course, whether for safety or skill development.
- Know where you are heading and plan alternate routes, in case you encounter less-than-ideal conditions.
- Never go without your life jacket. You never know when you may capsize or fall unconscious if you do. A life vest is just that – a life saver!
- Recognize that cold water can be very dangerous because it can quickly rob the body of heat and impair judgment if you’re in it for long. Without proper equipment, you can become incapacitated within just a few minutes. Keep this in mind before you decide to head out.
For whitewater rafting, a lot of the same elements apply, such as wearing a life vest, the need to be competent swimmer and the importance of planning a route. Some additional things to keep in mind:
- Wear a helmet. This is especially important for whitewater rafting (and even kayaking) because you never know when you may fall out. If your head hits a rock, you could be rendered unconscious and quickly die or be killed instantly. A helmet will protect you from that scenario.
- Keep your paddles down so you don’t hit someone else in the boat.
- Check your equipment. If you are going out with a whitewater rafting company, ask about air levels of the raft, cracks in the paddles and how often the helmets are replaced.
If you’re planning to head out on an inner tube, again, make sure you’re a strong swimmer, wear a life vest and a helmet and have a plan. Additionally, consider:
- Wearing a wet suit. You might do this with other kinds of water sports, but it’s especially important with tubing and in colder water because you’ll be in constant, direct contact with the water.
- Protecting your feet. If you need to quickly get out of the water, you’ll have an easier time if you’re not barefoot.
Companies that take riders out on these excursions should be equipped to prepare you for every scenario, but it’s important to educate yourself as well.
If you or a loved one has been injured in Waynesville, contact Grimes Teich Anderson LLP. Call 1.800.533.6845.
More Blog Entries:
Fall Accidents, Premises Liability & Risks Among Older Adults, April 30, 2013, Waynesville Injury Lawyer Blog