A Course for Safe Boating
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California Boating 

A Course for Safe Boating

107

Chapter 5

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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

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Constantly check the weather and water for conditions that may

cause hazards.

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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.

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Distribute the weight of passengers and gear evenly.

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Check the automatic bilge pump in your boat (if it has one) to see that it is

working properly.

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Check the drain plug.

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If your vessel leaks, bail out the boat continuously and head for a safe shore

as soon as possible.

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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.

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Engine failure places motorboats at greater risk of capsizing. Maintain the

engine and battery. Carry spare parts, and learn to do simple repairs.

Rescue

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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.

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Hold onto the nearest floating object.

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Put on a life jacket if possible.

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Count the number of people to make sure that no one

is missing.

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Check and treat serious and life-threatening injuries.

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If possible, right the boat and bail out the water.

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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