A capsized boat is the worst nightmare of any sort of boating enthusiast. Since people spend time, energy, and money perfecting their boats they can easily lose their minds if their precious investment capsizes. This is why preparing for the worst is necessary.
Of course, with careful precautions, you will likely never capsize your boat. However, mother nature and other natural elements can be unpredictable. As a result, it is important to at least be aware of how a professional would handle a situation where their boat is capsized.
Avoiding disaster in the face of danger is a skill that every talented captain has. However, when everything you learned fails and your boat flips over, you aren’t necessarily going to lose your life or your boat.
1. Save the Human Cargo First
The most important thing to preserve in the face of danger is your life. The boat still can be saved, but the human cargo that it held is the first priority. Make sure that everyone on the boat has access to a lifejacket. When the boat capsizes, having access to lifejackets will allow plenty of extra time for help to arrive. If you don’t have enough lifejackets, find another floating device, even if it’s the capsized boat itself. Finally, keep everyone together and remain calm.
2. Stay with the Boat
In all likelihood, the boat itself will be the last thing to sink into the water. This is another reason why keeping the humans above water is the primary concern. Saving the boat is the next priority. If you are in an area where people can see you, they are more likely to see the capsized boat than the people with lifejackets. Staying with your boat makes it more likely to be seen, and eventually, save the boat.
If the water is cold, you are at risk of developing hypothermia. If possible, try to get onto the boat and stay out of the water. If you think the boat will sink, stay with it as long as possible and try to save any supplies which might be useful in receiving help (flares, distress signals, and other large devices). Make sure everything and everyone stays near the boat so that you can be more easily seen.
3. Signal for Help, Wait for Help, & Remain Calm
This is the hardest part, and requires patience. Using whatever equipment available (including your voice), signal for help. If you managed to save flares or distress signals, use them. If you are extremely lucky, you will have access to a cell phone (which isn’t water damaged). Whatever strategy you have available to signal for help, use it.
Patience is part of the key here. It may be difficult to confirm that help is on the way when somebody notices you. As a result, patience will be a great asset. As time passes by, it will be easy to become stressed and concerned that help will never come.
However, remember that remaining calm will help ease the tension and keep everybody from panicking unnecessarily. One calm person will be an inspiration to another, which starts a chain reaction towards a calmer atmosphere in general.