Recreational Off Duty Safety (RODS)

Recreation Off Duty Safety (RODS)

Recreation and off-duty mishaps are the number one cause of injury and the number two killer of Navy personnel. The information in this section is designed to make you aware of the hazards associated with common leisure-time activities of the season and familiarize you with basic precautions.




Each year approximately 1,152 Navy military personnel engaged in recreation, athletics and home activities are accidentally injured or killed. These mishaps cost has Navy approximately 23,441 workdays. For every on-duty lost-time mishap, there is another off-the-job injury. Additional losses in productivity occur when Navy personnel are required to be away from the job to care for family members hurt in mishaps. Such losses severely impact operational readiness. Recreational mishaps, after motor vehicle mishaps, are the leading cause of death for off-duty Navy personnel. Approximately 15 drowning occur each year during recreational activities. Falls are the second leading cause of death. Team sports produce more injuries than any other recreational activity. Many recreational mishaps report alcohol as a contributing factor; nearly all involve human error.

Naval Military Personnel Command Manual Article 6610120, Swimmer Training and Qualification, established the test for swimmer third class as the official Navy standard basic swimming test. To quality at this level of performance, a sailor does not have to do any more than swim 50 yards and tread water for five minutes. While this may be enough to save a person in some circumstances where rescue is imminent, it is not nearly enough to meet the requirements to survive in most mishaps. The stress brought about by panic, exhaustion, strong currents, cold temperatures and darkness require much more than bare minimums to ensure survival. Personnel should be encouraged to participate in swimming classes to improve their water survival skills. Commands can contribute to greater hazard awareness by providing seasonal briefs on swimming and boating safety.
Death from falls is the second greatest source of accidental fatalities for off-duty sailors. Typically, it is falls from heights such as rooftops and cliffs that are the most dangerous. Alcohol is repeatedly cited in such mishaps as well as inexperience for those involving rock climbing. Rock climbing mishaps seem to be on the increase as more and more people turn to rugged outdoor sports to challenge themselves to meet new and higher levels of fitness. Instruction and practice, the use of a competent buddy and proper personal protective equipment and climbing gear are essential to safe climbs. If unsure about how to get started in the sport consult with your local specialty sports shops in your community.
 Sports and recreation provide a basic physical conditioning process through which the Navy can help build and maintain an effective fighting force. By providing members with varied recreational opportunities, the Navy can maintain the high level of morale essential for efficiency. Sports and recreational activities can be classified as either team activities or individual activities.
  • Team Activities. Basketball has the highest percentage of disabling injuries among team sports. Softball and football are the next largest producers of long-time injuries. Sports injuries are due to four basic factors: poor conditioning, inadequate ability and skill, lack of protective clothing and equipment, and violation of recognized rules. The most commonly reported injuries are to the knee, lower leg and ankle. Fractures occur most often in football and softball while sprains and strains occur more frequently in basketball. Pick-up games result in more injuries than organized, officiated games. Not all such mishaps are preventable. However, their reduction must remain a firm, basic goal.
  • Individual Activities. Swimming, boating and gun handling have the highest potential for fatal injury. Weak swimmers getting in "over their heads" boaters and fisherman not wearing personal flotation devices and hunters cleaning "unloaded" guns are common scenarios which lead to death. Injuries have increased over the past few years due to the increased popularity of leisure pursuits. Jogging, bicycling, and physical fitness oriented activities product the greatest number of reportable lost-time injuries. The type of injuries cited most often are fractures, sprains, and strains.
According to the American Red Cross, alcohol is a factor in 505 of all motor vehicle fatalities, 20% of home injuries, 16% of job injuries, and 56% of those injured in fights and assaults. Alcohol is a particularly difficult drug to cope with because it is legally sanctioned by our society and is commonly thought of as a stimulant, it is really a chemical depressant, which acts as a general anesthetic for those parts of the brain that suppress, control and inhibit thoughts, feelings, and actions. These are the very functions needed for safe performance in recreational and athletic pursuits. Typical effects of alcohol consumption include impaired judgment, unrealistic confidence, slowed coordination and performance decrements. These changes are present whether a person feels or admits it. Such effects precipitate risk-taking behavior and are associated with unsafe acts and mishaps. Frequently such risk taking is not deliberate; it is simply a result of being unaware of decreased capabilities. Because its use it so pervasive, the involvement of alcohol as well as other drugs must be considered in all mishaps.

General Information:

Wind Safety

Winds are common in the Monterey Bay during winter and they have the potential to bring down trees (especially eucalyptus), power lines and signs, and can turn unsecured objects into dangerous projectiles. Listed below are some tips to keep in mind during high wind warnings.

If you are caught outside during high winds:

  • Take cover next to a building or under a secure shelter
  • Stand clear of roadways or train tracks, as a gust may blow you into the path of an oncoming vehicle
  • Use handrails where available, and avoid elevated areas such as roofs
  • Watch for flying debris. Tree limbs may break and street signs may come loose during strong winds 


If you see a tree on campus that has broken or breaking limbs, please report it to Public Works at 831-656-2526 or you can report the hazard to the NPS Safety Office.


Pet Safety

  • Pets can be tempted to eat tinsel, which can block the intestines.  Trees provide a great temptation for cats to climb and dogs to chew on, so holiday trees should be secured to prevent accidents.
  • Turkey and chicken bones can be a tempting for dogs but can splinter and penetrate their digestive tracts.
  • Don’t give chocolate to dogs. It contains theobromine, which can over-stimulate a dog’s heart, especially small dogs, and can be fatal. 
  • Poinsettias are not poisonous, but their sap is an irritant and can make an animal hyper-salivate,  paw at the head and mouth, and vomit if ingested.
  • Some pets like to chew on electrical cords and play with ornaments. Hang them out of pets’ reach.  Ingestion of ornaments, glass, ribbons and bows can lead to serious medical emergencies. 


Holiday Traveling

  • Give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good repair
  • If you drink… don’t drive
  • Always use safety belts and child safety seats
  • Maintain a safe distance between vehicles
  • Get a good night’s sleep before traveling
  • Avoid eating heavy meals, as this can lead to sleepiness


Crime Prevention

  • According to the National Crime Prevention Council, 1 out of 10 homes will be burglarized this year.  
  • Don’t open the door to anyone you don’t know and don’t advertise departures. 
  • Holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and/or doors of your home.  
  • Make sure porches, entrances, and yards are well-lit.            
  • Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts. 
  • Don’t advertise new electronics or other valuables by putting the boxes out on the curb for the garbage collectors. Break them down and fold them to where the words are on the inside.
  • Lock doors and windows when you leave your home, even for a few minutes. Keep them locked while you are home.     

E-Scooter Safety

Safety Awareness Dispatch


Navy's Travel Risk Planning System (TRiPS)

NRSW Holiday Decoration Requirements for NPS Spaces

Recreational mishaps indicate most injured personnel do not understand or appreciate the magnitude of certain hazards. Without the fundamental ability to recognize danger and understand that certain precautions are necessary, mishap prevention concepts are easily forgotten, procedures and devices are bypasses and protective equipment is ignored. Since caution is seldom exercised, even routine activities with low-level hazards, which are repeated over and over again, are capable of producing trouble. More exposure increases the probability of a mishap. Recreation, athletic and home mishaps represent classic human factors problems. Almost without exception, such losses are due to specific acts of omission or commission, which result in some undesired consequence; seldom are poor design, improper maintenance or deficient procedures cited as the principal cause factors. The problem is so extensive that approximately 90 percent of these mishaps involve human error. Human error translates into three commonly observed cause factors; lack of knowledge, inattention or distraction and intentional violation of safety practices. Hazard awareness training is necessary to overcome these deficiencies. Most mishaps can be prevented with full cooperation of all personnel and if care is exercised to eliminate unsafe acts and conditions. Each person must be trained to recognize and correct dangerous conditions and be safety conscious.