During the summer, especially when temperatures are sizzling, boaters need to be aware of their risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Whether you are out for a pleasure ride, fishing with friends or working on a commercial vessel, you must take steps to stay cool and hydrated.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency. It can cause your body temperature to spike to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in as little as 10 to 15 minutes, and if not treated properly, it can lead to permanent disability or death. Just last week, the U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a 25-year-old fisherman who was experiencing heat stroke-like symptoms, as discussed in Monday’s blog post.
In addition to an elevated body temperature, symptoms of heat stroke include:
- Throbbing headache and muscle weakness or cramps
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Red, hot, dry skin and lack of sweat
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heartbeat, which may be strong or weak
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Confusion, disorientation or staggering
- Seizures and unconsciousness
Heat exhaustion, which is less serious than heat stroke, often occurs when someone has been exposed to high temperatures for several days and has become dehydrated. For commercial fishermen and other seamen who are out on the water for days at a time, heat exhaustion is a real concern. Symptoms include:
- Confusion, dizziness, fainting and fatigue
- Dark-colored urine and profuse sweating
- Headache, muscle cramps and nausea
- Pale skin and rapid heartbeat
Maritime employers should take appropriate steps to protect workers from heat injury. If you or a loved one has suffered any type of serious injury while working in the maritime industry, visit our website to learn about your rights under the Jones Act and other maritime laws, and fill out the contact form for a free consultation with a Boston maritime attorney.
Latti & Anderson LLP – Boston maritime trial lawyers