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Slip and fall accidents are among the most common causes of injuries on boats. Decks are made of fiberglass, wood, or steel. All can be slippery. Water, grease, scales and fish oil are just some of the factors that contribute to the equation.

Oftentimes variations of fiberglass, wood, or steel are used on walking surfaces in an apparent effort to make slip and falls less likely. However, appearances can be deceptive.

For instance, a material generically referred to as diamond plate is used in many maritime applications. Diamond plate gives the appearance of providing traction, but it typically does not (though there are certain kinds of diamond plates that do actually provide adequate traction even in marine environments).

Traction is technically referred to as the coefficient of friction. Coefficient of friction should be over .5 to ensure user safety. Measuring the coefficient of friction in a marine environment requires special testing with a device called a Tribometer. Care should be taken to test the coefficient of friction and actual conditions. For instance, to be tested on a fishing vessel should be tested with water and/or fish oil on the walking surface since those are ingredients that will most likely be present when the boat is being used.

Boating safety involves not only keeping the vessel afloat and avoiding collisions with other boats but also ensuring user safety when it comes to issues like slip and falls as well.

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