Chapter 4: Emergency Preparation


Most boating accidents occur on days with clear skies and light winds. Sometimes, two boats can be involved in a collision, as previously explained. But often, accidents are a result of reckless boating which results in capsizing.

The major cause of fatalities, in small boats, is drowning after falling overboard. Of the individuals involved in these fatal accidents, a staggering 85% were not wearing a personal flotation device or lifejacket. Following this simple safety measure can drastically increase the chance of survival, in the event of a fall overboard. The best practice is to always wear a lifejacket.

There are other steps one can take to keep oneself as safe as possible on the water. Let's begin by taking a closer look at some major emergency situations and then examine how these dangers can be prevented. Starting with capsizing.

Capsizing occurs when a boat is swamped with water or overturns. This happens more frequently in smaller vessels like sailboats. Fortunately, these small boats also tend to stay afloat instead of sinking entirely, giving the boater something stable to cling to as they await aid.

Capsizing is usually a result of overloading, improper anchoring, unsafe boat handling or sudden loss of power or steering. Falls overboard are usually caused by a slip of footing while moving around the boat. To prevent that one will want to turn corners at a safe speed and avoid dangerous angles. Watch for the wake left by other boats as it moves through the water and always take the wake head-on, from the bow, never from the side.

Always remember the rules for safe anchoring and never tie the rode line of the anchor to the stern of the boat. Doing this places much more weight on the back of the boat and can lead to swamping.

Boat Capsizing