How to Survive a Boating Accident

Experts show ABC News' Matt Gutman what to do if a boat capsizes or you're thrown overboard.
5:03 | 07/18/15

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Transcript for How to Survive a Boating Accident
You know there may be nothing nicer than a bet ride on a summer's day. If you are planning on making waves this weekend, boating can be more dangerous than you thing. Many of the people at the helm aren't trained enough. Tonight, ABC's Matt Gutman is getting a hand-on look at what you can do to protect yourself. Reporter: Lake of the ozarks in Missouri, a seemingly perfect day on the water. We went to full speed rather quickly. And then the next two minutes, the accident took place within a blink of an eye. The boat lurches but doesn't capsized. All captured by a go pro that they mounted to the boat. The video going viral netting nearly 4 million views. We were doing 89, 90 miles an hour right before we wrecked. The girl on the left seemingly in agony. I broke my right wrist, right leg, ruptured a Dix in my lumbar. Reporter: A boat comes to their assistance as they wait for water patrol to arrive. The fact the boat didn't flip multiple times was amazing. Everybody was happy to be alive. Reporter: Not everyone is so fortunate. According to the coast guard, in 2014 there were 4,000 accidents resulting in 610 deaths and 2,700 injuries from recreational boating. To learn how to aindividvoid a boating disaster I turned to brad showwall from performance bet school and Larry Goldman from extreme power boats in Miami. They agreed to teach me how to safely operate a boat on the water, a skill that believe it or not is actually optional. To operate a bet you didn't have to go out and get what we think is a driver's license? It's not required. Go online. Answer some questions and get an operator's card. Beyond that there is no skill required to be demonstrated to operate a boat. Reporter: He says most accidents happen because people operating boat have far too little skill. One of the most important lessons controlling the trip or the angle, nose of the boat. What happens if the nose ties high? Leave the wave. Leave the wake. Fly through the air. All the weight in the back of the boat. Back of the boat lands first. You don't want tight do. Reporter: To demonstrate. We bring a yacht. Larry is driving. I'm riding white-knuckled shotgun. He plows nus the wake. Nose up we soar into the air. I scream in wide-eyed terror. Watch the nose flap down on the water. If we come down harder we could have been hurt. Now Larry has the trim spun on and we cut right through the very same wake. The guys caution expect the unexpected. Always wear a life jacket in case the boat capsizes. And use a kill switch. If the boat becomes out of control because the operator failed to do something correctly. Throws you out of the boat. This will come along and kill the engines. Reporter: A kill switch is likely what saved this boater's life when he was tossed from the boat. Be aware of your speed. Larry puts me behind the wheel of this 46 foot catamaran. Flying at 130 miles an hour. There is no speed limit on the open water. He handles the throttle. I steer. Larry says this requires something elemental. Concentration. As you go faster of course, you know the danger factor increases. And you have to be more aware because things harp penning a lot quicker. Traveling a football field every few seconds. Reporter: What should you do if you find yourself thrown into the middle of the water with no help in sight. To find out we traveled to Mexico's sea of Cortez, where I was plunked in not far from a place called shark island.baird, head instructor from California survival school comes to the rescue. The first thing Dan tells me to do is take off my shoes. Tie them around my neck. Shoes are not conducive to treading water wec, we may be here a while. Maintain breathing. Slow down. Maintain heart rate. And figure out how to create a float. Took my pants off. Didn't think I would do this on TV. Tie the legs tight. Don't waste airspace. I actually turned my pants into a life preserver. If you don't see lane, you just have to stay calm and conserve energy. Panicking will deplete your energy and ability to think. Another option, dead man's float. Fill our lungs with air. Put yourself face down. Just let yourself float. Until you need to take a breath. When you fiend yond yourself on the water this summer, remember the simple tips, that could mean the difference between a pleasant day on the water or something very different. For "Nightline," Matt Gutman, Miami.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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