Precautions for boating: How to avoid getting injured | Opinion – The Northwest Florida Daily News

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Boating is part of the culture in this area.   Between the Choctawhatchee Bay, the particular Gulf of Mexico and Crab Island, this will be a beautiful area in order to explore on the water.

Unfortunately, this area  also can be a perilous location for boaters. Time plus time again we have reported on people being injured, sometimes even gravely, during boating mishaps.

As we reported in June , about 250 tourists are taken to HCA Fort Walton-Destin Hospital each year for treatment of serious or life-threatening injuries, and almost half of those come from Crab Island near Destin.

Last week, we reported  on  Taj Bldiar , a 23-year-old tourist from Memphis, Tennessee, who was boating with friends near Crab Island when she fell overboard and her arm was nearly severed  when she was struck by the boat’s propeller.   Bldiar sustained multiple cuts to her arm going all the way to the bone.

Bldiar has a long road in order to recovery ahead of her. At the time of our story last week, she already had undergone six surgeries, with more to come, and doctors are giving her just a 10% chance of saving her arm.

More on the accident: 23-year-old woman given 10% possibility of keeping the girl arm after boating accident near Crab Island

Injuries at Crab Island: Almost fifty percent of 200 tourists hospitalized for traumatic injuries yearly are from Crab Island

Also last month, the woman suffered immediate paralysis to her lower extremities when she jumped feet first from a pontoon boat into Choctawhatchee Bay in very shallow drinking water.

Sadly, stories like these  are not unique events.

Over Memorial Day weekend in 2019, Destin resident Lee Ann Dorn, the wife associated with Destin High School Athletic Director Phil Dorn, was almost  killed during a boating accident when they were near East Pass with family and friends.

Lee Ann slipped while getting back in the boat and went into the propeller, which sliced  open her abdomen disemboweling her and entangling her bathing suit and pulling the girl underwater. When she has been pulled back on the boat, she was resuscitated by her daughter and rushed to shore.

Just like  Bldiar, Lea Ann has had to undergo multiple surgeries plus hospital stays over a long recovery period.

Recently: No injuries reported after vessel crashes into military beach in Destin at full speed

Anyone who’s been out on a boat with friends and a cooler knows it doesn’t take long to start to feel a little invincible out there. But we’re not. In fact , I would argue that we’re even more susceptible in order to injury when we have a little liquid courage inside us and we tend to not always make the particular best decisions.

So , here are some safety tips for you before you head out on the water again:

  • Absolutely have the DD at the helm of the boat.
  • Use common sense, like staying alert at all times, driving the particular boat at safe speeds and being aware of other boats, swimmers and even wildlife.
  • Have a kill switch so you can shut off the engine immediately in an emergency.
  • Don’t let your passengers sit on the railings or other unsafe parts of the boat.   Bldiar’s accident happened as she was sitting at the front associated with the boat with her feet in the water whenever the boat hit a large wave that threw her into the water and pulled her under the boat.
  • Check the weather beforehand. You don’t want to be on the drinking water and caught in an unexpected storm.  

It is absolutely beautiful out there on the water. Take advantage of that beauty simply by getting out on the particular water, but please do so safely and responsibly.

Dusty Ricketts is usually the content coach for the Northwest Florida Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] com.

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