Chapter 5 X Accident Prevention and Rescue
CAPSIZING OR SINKING POWERBOATS, INCLUDING PERSONAL WATERCRAFT Capsizing or sinking can result from severe weather, water conditions, an overloaded boat, poor judgment in operating a vessel or faulty equipment. Prevention Constantly check the weather and water for conditions that may cause hazards. Do not carry more people or weight on your vessel than the capacity plate says you can. In the absence of a capacity plate, you should check the owners’ manual and state laws to know how many passengers can safely be loaded onto the vessel. Distribute the weight of passengers and gear evenly. Check the automatic bilge pump in your boat (if it has one) to see that it is working properly. Check the drain plug. If your vessel leaks, bail out the boat continuously and head for a safe shore as soon as possible. Do not stand up or change seats in small boats. If you have to change position, tell the operator, hold onto the gunwales, and have other passengers move to counter-balance the shift in weight. Engine failure places motorboats at greater risk of capsizing. Maintain the engine and battery. Carry spare parts, and learn to do simple repairs. Rescue Do not attempt to swim ashore unless it’s safe to do so. Be aware that distances are hard to judge accurately on the water. The shore may be farther away than you think. Stay with the boat until help arrives. A boat is far more visible than a person in the water. Hold onto the nearest floating object. Put on a life jacket if possible. Count the number of people to make sure that no one is missing.
W REFER TO CHAPTERS 1-4 PAGES 5-7, 27, 79, 97-98
Check and treat serious and life-threatening injuries. If possible, right the boat and bail out the water. If you can’t right the boat, climb onto the hull and signal for help. Use signaling devices to tell rescuers you are in danger. You can also wave your arms and yell.
California Course for Safe Boating
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