what if you're knocked off of the boat and unconscious by the boom 200 feet from shore?
I do agree that if the majority of your sailing consists of puttering around in lakes and bays, then life is different.
On Paloma, the boom is above the bimini and the tacking lines lead to the cockpit, not likely to get hit by the boom. On long slogs offshore with no tacks, we vang the boom off. And, if you are harnessed to the boat, getting knocked out by anything - you may dangle by your harness and bruise your ribs and wake up with a headache, but that's about it.
s/v Paloma, Bristol 29.9, #141
Slipped in Bahia Marina, easy access to Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.