SATURDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- A day on the water isn't
always smooth sailing. Common sailing injuries include trips and
falls, being hit by the boom and getting caught in the lines,
according to a new study.
To determine the most frequent accidents that occur on dinghies
(small boats crewed by one or two people) and keel boats (large
boats such as those used in the America's Cup races, with a crew of
up to 16), Rhode Island Hospital researchers conducted an online
survey of 1,860 sailors.
The respondents reported a total of 1,715 injuries, with 79
percent reporting at least one injury in the previous 12 months.
The most common types of injuries were bruises, cuts and
Most of the injuries (71 percent) occurred on keel boats. On
these boats, trauma to the arms and leg accounted for 78 percent of
all injuries, while 11 percent occurred on the torso.
For dinghy sailors, the majority of injuries also occurred on
the arms and legs, while head and neck injuries accounted for 12
On both types of boats, tacking and jibing maneuvers played a
role in about one-third of injuries. Activities that commonly
preceded the accidents were crossing from one side of the boat to
the other during a tack, changing the sails, operating a winch, and
Only 4 percent of the injuries reported by the respondents
resulted in evacuation from the vessel and/or hospitalization.
Twenty-six percent of sailors received first aid onboard, and 33
percent sought medical care after the injury.
Fractures accounted for 25 percent of the 70 most serious
injuries reported, followed by torn tendons or cartilage (16
percent), concussions (14 percent), and dislocations (8 percent).
Heavy weather was a contributing factor in 36 percent of the severe
injuries, and drinking preceded 7 percent of the accidents.
Most alarming, the researchers said, was to learn that only 30
percent of the sailors in the survey said they wore a life
The study was published in the journal
Wilderness and Environmental Medicine.
U.S. Sailing outlines
safety at sea.