A Course for Safe Boating
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.
Constantly check the weather and water for conditions that may
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
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.
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
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.
REFER TO CHAPTERS 1–4
PAGES 6–7, 27, 79, 98