PLR 22-046 - Off-Duty Sports, Recreation, and Physical Training Mishap Claims One Soldier's Life
A Staff Sergeant assigned to Fort Carson, Colorado, died in an off-duty water-related mishap 29 May 2022 in Pueblo, Colorado, at 2000 local. The Soldier was operating a 16-foot Sea Ray vessel that overturned in high winds and waves. He and his wife were pronounced dead at the scene. Although the vessel was designed to carry just seven to eight passengers, there were 13 aboard, including eight children and five adults. All the children were wearing flotation devices; however, the adults were not. Alcohol use is unknown at this time.
Since FY17, the Army has lost an average of eight Soldiers a year to off-duty water-related mishaps. This tragedy was the second fatal off-duty water-related mishap of FY22 and above the number of off-duty water-related fatalities from this time last year.Boating Safety Tips:
•Always wear an approved life jacket - According to 2020 Coast Guard statistics regarding fatal recreational boating mishaps, 86% of those who drowned failed to wear a life jacket.
•Take a boating safety course - According to 2020 Coast Guard statistics regarding fatal recreational boating mishaps, 77% of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instruction.
•Don’t drink and operate a boat - Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents; boating under the influence on waterways is just as dangerous and illegal as DUI on a roadway.
•File a float plan with someone you trust and include a recent photo of your boat - A float plan is an itinerary of when and where you plan to go while on the water. It is to be completed before you go boating and given to a person who can notify the Coast Guard or other rescue organization if you fail to check in according to the plan.
•Know and adhere to the maximum load capacity of your boat - Boats loaded beyond their capacity will swamp or capsize more easily and will be more difficult to control.
•Check that your equipment is in good working order - Get a free vessel safety check with your local U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadron.
•Keep an eye out for changing weather - If you notice storm clouds, a sudden temperature drop or wind speed increasing, play it safe and get off the water.