Soaking up sunrays and smelling the scent of salty water is equally enjoyable to feeling sand squished between your toes at the beach. A relaxing weekend at the ocean in Rhode island and Massachusetts can instantly turn catastrophic when an angry sea creature, rogue wave, bad weather or poor decision causes serious injuries or death. Below, are the most common beach and ocean related accidents that injure and kill Americans every year. They include:
• #1. Drowning and Near-Drowning – The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and WHO (World Health Organization) indicate that nearly 380,000 individuals lose their lives to drowning worldwide every year. In addition, millions more are involved in a near drowning because they did not know how to swim or were not wearing effective flotation equipment.
• #2. Attacks by Sharks and Other Sea Life – While an attack by a shark does not happen often, being injured by sea life is a common occurrence. This includes attacks by jellyfish, stingrays and wild sea mammals.
• #3. Shore Break Injuries – Shore breaks are a natural ocean condition where a wave breaks along the shoreline. Many times, in dangerous seas, these conditions are both hazardous and unpredictable. In many incidences, they produce spinal cord injuries and neck injury to swimmers, body surfers and those walking along the shoreline who lose their balance.
• #4. High Tide Injury – Tides can produce a serious threat to swimmers and beachgoers in an area that becomes blocked when the tide rises unexpectedly. Walkers can be cut off from access to the beach in dangerous areas that can quickly overcome the individual when engulfed with rising waters, creating a hazardous condition where drowning or near-drowning can occur.
• #5. Injuries by Lightning – Thunderstorms with lightning in RI and MA can quickly and unexpectedly approach the shoreline or ocean surface, leaving beachgoers, boaters, surfers and swimmers in harm’s way. Being struck by lightning can kill or seriously maim victims.
• #6. Rip Current Injuries – Four out of every five rescues at sea involve rip currents and riptides. The mechanical action of a rip current can quickly tire swimmers beyond their capacity to fight fatigue, which ultimately leads most swimmers to their death. Rip currents usually pull swimmers out to sea before the wave breaks and pushes the swimmer either sideways or up onto the shore.
• #7. Large Surf Accident – Surfers enjoying the thrill and excitement of riding a large wave in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations or Massachusetts (Mass). However, large surf typically create serious safety hazards, even to the strongest surfers with years of experience. This includes those on body boards and surfboards swimming in areas that are not protected by lifeguards.
• #8. Shallow Water Diving – Many of the hazards underwater in Rhode island and Massachusetts in the ocean remain out of view of a swimmer diving in shallow waters. Swimmers can prevent serious injury, broken neck or death by never diving when entering the ocean.
• #9. In Shore Hole Accident – Many accidents occur at an in-shore hole where the bottom of the ocean near the shoreline is significantly deeper than all the area surrounding it. These types of accidents often involve drowning or near-drowning when the victim unexpectedly steps off into a deep hole while walking in the ocean.
• #10. Heat Related Emergency – Not only can beachgoers, boaters, swimmers and surfers suffer serious sunburns while outdoors, many experience unexpected heatstroke or other heat-related emergency. Brain trauma, internal organ damage and death are often caused by heat exhaustion, dehydration and long-term exposure to the sun’s heat. These types of emergencies can be avoided by drinking lots of fluids and minimizing activity levels because the body can easily lose more water at a faster rate than under typical conditions.
Nearly every tragic water accident in Rhode Island (RI) and Massachusetts (MA)occurs quickly, unpredictably and without warning. These types of tragic accidents usually occur to individuals who lack effective safety knowledge including knowing how to swim in ocean waters, swimmers who swim alone, or those swimming in areas not supervised by lifeguards.
If you were injured as a result of the negligence of a third party please contact a Rhode island personal injury lawyer or a MA accident attorney.