Chapter 4: Emergency Preparation

Chapter Review

Let's go over some of the key concepts discussed in this chapter. Since these techniques and procedures may save a life someday, or at the very least prevent property damage or injury, it is essential that one understands what to do when an emergency situation arises.

Assisting other Boaters:

Rending assistance is essentially helping other boaters in trouble. It is one’s responsibility to help other boaters out on the water if possible and to do so in a way which does not put one’s own safety in jeopardy.

Be sure to notify the authorities if anyone is in immediate danger or signal for assistance if unable cannot safely help the fellow boater in need.

Boat Emergency Preparation

Reporting Boating Accidents:

If involved in an accident, one is legally required to do the following:

  • Stop and identify yourself and your vessel.
  • Provide assistance to your fellow boater(s), if necessary.
  • Write down any pertinent information. This includes the time, date and conditions.
  • File an accident report with the authorities.

If one gets in any boating accident involving serious injury, property damage, or loss of life, one must file a report and contact the authorities. It is the law.

Capsizing and Falls Overboard:

These are the two most common emergencies while boating and both represent the biggest causes of boating-related fatalities on small vessels. As such, prevention, response, and survival regarding capsizing or falls overboard are matters of significant importance.

Boat Emergency Response to Falling Overboard

However, there are some simple tips to prevent these fatalities and accidents:

  • Never overload the boat
  • Maintain three points of contact whenever moving about the boat
  • Avoid boating in bad weather

As for falls overboard, when retrieving someone who has fallen be sure to keep them in sight, approaching them from the operator's side of the vessel so one can easily keep an eye on them. If possible, try and throw something buoyant, into the water, for them to hold onto, especially if they aren't wearing a PFD. Finally, be sure to turn off the engine before having them climb aboard. Keeping the engine on while they climb in, from the stern, is extremely dangerous.

Cold Water Immersion and Hypothermia:

When the body is immersed in cold water, it goes through physiological changes. These changes begin with initial cold water shock and proceed to the life-threatening condition of hypothermia. It is important to get out of the cold water by any means available to prevent reaching this stage.

Cold Water Immersion and Hypothermia

Finally, always wear a lifejacket or PFD. It's the most effective way to ensure that one is always prepared for an emergency situation.

Running Aground:

In this chapter, we also learned about how to respond if the vessel runs aground. One can avoid running aground by always maintaining a safe speed, keeping a proper lookout and checking in with local boaters about local hazards which may pose a danger.

If one does run aground, start by checking the hull for any structural damage. If there is significant damage to the hull, it's best to stay there and call for help. If not, then try to reverse off of where one has run aground, push off, or use a kedge anchor to free the boat.

Running Aground

Fire Emergencies:

Also reviewing how to respond to a fire on board the boat. Stop the engine, position the vessel so that the smoke and fire blow away from the boat, disconnect the fuel source, and then use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Aim at the base of the flame and use a steady sweeping motion.