Chapter 4: Emergency Preparation

Falling Overboard

A capsizing will result in the operator and passengers falling "overboard." However, it is possible for boaters to fall overboard without a capsizing taking place.

Falling "overboard" is the act of falling off of the boat and into the water. These falls happen quickly and usually take boaters by surprise, leaving them no time to put on a lifejacket. Furthermore, it is difficult to properly put a lifejacket on while submerged in water. Again, always wearing a lifejacket helps one to be prepared for all manner of emergencies.

For smaller boats, falls overboard can be prevented by maintaining three points of contact with the boat at all times and by staying as low and stable as possible. To avoid a cluttered boat, never overload the boat or exceed its maximum person capacity. For small boats, remain seated and avoid sudden movements.

Both capsizing and falls overboard are also often caused by being hit by a large, unexpected wave or taking a sharp turn while moving on board the boat. These events can also be caused by an uneven distribution of weight, overloading a boat or foul weather such as heavy rain or high wind. As always, avoid boating in bad weather or rough waters. As discussed in the previous chapter, check the weather before heading out and regularly check the changing weather conditions once out on the water. If suddenly boating in bad weather, decrease speed and apply extra caution to all maneuvers.