Your boat capsizes and floats away what should you do​

Your boat capsizes and floats away what should you do

You want to be sure that you stay calm and it will help to keep your passengers safe and calm as well. I came up with a list of some of the things that you should do in the event that you end up in the water without your boat.

What’s in this guide?

  • Boating safety tips
  • What to do if you end up failing overboard?
  • Tips on how to prevent capsizing
  • Top 3 causes for someone to fall overboard

So let’s dive straight into it

What to do if your boat capsizes and floats away?

  • First and foremost, do not panic
  • Everyone should be wearing a lifejacket, be sure all straps are securely connected. If you’re not wearing a PFD, find one and put it on. If you don’t have time to put it on, hold firmly onto it.
  • Do not attempt to swim to shore (only as a last resort)
  • If you or anyone else is not wearing a life jacket, look around for any loose floating objects
  • If you have no floatation devices around begin treading water

Every single person on the vessel should be wearing a life jacket.

Being prepared is the key

While no one ever wants to think that something bad was ever going to happen, but it still should never prevent you from at least considering it and taking precautions. The best way to be prepared is to ensure that you always have the mandatory amount of safety equipment on board your boat required by your state.

These floatation devices may include removable seat cushions and other multipurpose devices that are buoyant. The other thing you want to be sure of is that you also have the required numbers of life jackets on board. This includes the ones that must be worn at all times by children and the ones that adults should also be worn. These floatation devices will definitely come in handy in the event that you encounter a situation that leads to your boat capsizing and floats away.

In a very in-depth report carried out by USCG, the amount of adults opting to wear a PFD or life-jacket has increased by 44% since 2006.

Make sure to read our buying guide for Self-Inflating Life Jackets.

In the event, your boat capsizes and floats away

In the event that the worst-case scenario occurs and your boat does capsize and the current takes it away. There several things that you need to do immediately to ensure that you and your passengers get back to shore safely.

Weather Check

Always check the local weather forecast and water conditions before leaving the dock. 

Monitor weather changes

Always keep an eye on the weather throughout your trip – Keep the boat radio tuned to the marine channel so that you can listen for small craft warnings. These alerts will be immediately broadcasted.

Secure anchor

Be sure your boat anchor is secured to the front on the boat – All boats should have an appropriately weighted anchor on board at all time and it should be securely attached to a strong enough anchor line. Never place the anchor at the stern of the boat as this could accidentally swamp the boat.

Don’t make drastic turns

Do not take turns too fast – As the pilot of your boat you need to be aware of the wave conditions and be sure that you don’t take any turns to fast or cut them short. By doing this you could easily tip the boat over.

Don’t let passengers to lean over the side

Do not allow passengers to lean over the size of the boat. Depending on the size of your boat, it could very easily be tipped over with you were to allow one of your passengers to lean too far over the size.

Check for leaks

Check for leaks before you leave the dock – It is very important to keep any water from getting inside the boat. So, be sure to check that the boat does not have any visible leaks before you leave the boat launch or dock. 

What is most likely to cause someone to fall overboard

Cause #1 Loss of balance – It is very important that all passengers remain in their seats when the boat is moving. Be sure that if you have to move, keep as low as possible and keep your hands and feet in contact with the boat. Moving at high speeds in small boats can easily lead to a capsize.

Cause #2 Taking corners too sharply – It is very important that you always take corners as slowly as possible as to not cause too much of a jerking motion. Also, take the corners in a wide sweeping motion to avoid tipping the boat too violently.

Cause #3 Never take the wake of another boat on sideways – When you are in close proximity to other boats on the water be aware that they could be creating an unexpected wake. Always take the wake on head-on and not sideways.

In 2019 alone, 113 people lost their lives in boating accidents which were caused by alcohol use.  Don’t be another statistic, don’t risk hurting yourself and others on board by drinking.

Life jackets save people’s lives. There are endless things that could go wrong with a boat and cause a boating accident, of course the best action is prevention.

Always remember that the Coast Guard and Police/Sheriff’s Water Patrol are your safety net depending on where the waters are that you are boating.

If you are boating out in the open ocean and you develop a problem immediately get on the boat’s radio and call for help.

If you are on a local lake you will likely need to call the county sheriff for the area that you are in and call for help.

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