Your Boat Capsizes and Floats Away - What Should You Do?

June 1, 2023

Preparation can take you so far, but sometimes things just happen. If you are in a boat that capsizes and floats away, there are certain things you need to do to increase your chances of survival. The first thing is to remain calm and make sure all of your shipmates are wearing life jackets that are fastened properly. Look for anything you can use to help keep you afloat (pillows, empty coolers, oars or paddles, decoys). Floating rather than treading water also helps reduce hypothermia.

Next, it is important to do a head count to ensure everyone is accounted for. Then, if possible, try to re-board the boat. If you are unable to re-board, stay with the boat unless it is headed for a hazard. Small boats tend to float; staying with the boat will help you conserve energy and make it easier for rescuers to find you.

Many factors can cause a boat to capsize, including being overloaded, weather changes, and improper weight distribution. Taking precautions such as checking the weather and understanding your bilge system before going out on the water can help prevent capsizing.

Another factor that can contribute to a boat capsize is the presence of an engine. Having an engine on in rough conditions can increase the likelihood of a boat capsize. By taking precautions such as making sure your boat is fully fueled, not overloaded with people or gear, and by avoiding sailing in bad weather, you can prevent the occurrence of a boat capsize.


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