The Darwin Awards; it honours those which miss the ‘why?’ chromosome – those that charge onto the battlefield of danger shouting “Ready, fire!” without questioning the aim. It’s to celebrate those poor fools who died in outstandingly stupid ways as we strengthen the herd of our gene-pool. Leisure Boating takes a look at a few real Darwin Award candidates who could have easily prevented death or injury in boating accidents – had they ‘waited for it’ when saying “this is going to be legendary!”.
#1Know how to swim
Why? You’re just asking for trouble if you go into the water and haven’t learnt to swim.
And the Darwin Award goes to: On Obonga Lake, Canada, temperatures were a little over 35 degrees when a man took his family for a boat ride on a hot summer’s day. The breeze wasn’t enough for this candidate so he thought it best to cool off with a quick dip in the lake. However, there was one basic problem: he didn’t know how to swim. It’s a bizarre mystery as to why on earth someone would dive into a deep lake if they can’t swim, but since he lacked that intuition, it’s easy to believe he didn’t wear a life jacket either – the logical attire of any boater. Usually, it’s the cold-water undercurrent that can cause cramps, but that’s not what took this champion. He had neglected to take into account the wind which pushed the boat further away from him; and since his wife didn’t know how to steer the boat in his direction, he drowned. The Bottom Line (if you’ll excuse the pun): There are plenty of swimming courses offered country-wide for people of all ages and abilities. And, perhaps it’s not a bad idea to ensure someone else on board has attended a SAMSA certified skipper’s course too!
2#Always wear a PFD (personal floatation device)
Why? The vast majority of drowning victims could have been saved by a PFD. Each person on your boat should wear one – it must fit them snugly and securely otherwise it could do the opposite of saving your life.
And the Darwin Award goes to: This one isn’t exactly boat related, but it’s one winner that didn’t listen to the easy-to-follow rules of being safe on the water.
In Montana in the US, ‘a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do’ – like showing his manliness by rejecting the option of safety. Taking part in a new extreme boating sport called “snowmoboating”, where a snowmobile is used to hydroplane (or “glide”) across the surface of the water, something like skipping a stone, 49 year-old Gary climbed onto his machine, gunned the motor, then tore across the reservoir and onto the opposite bank some 183 metres away. After some delight was expressed by his friends who were left at the start point, Gary turned around and began his run back like a similar Montana daredevil – Evel Knievel. However, the snowmobile was moving too slowly when it hit the water, and since speed and water-skipping go hand-inhand and snowmobiles don’t float, it lost momentum and sank just short of the 15-metre buoy. Sadly, the man wasn’t wearing a lifejacket and drowned far from shore and even further away from his friends.
The Bottom Line: Wearing a lifejacket could save even the most stupid of water sport enthusiasts. ..