If your boat capsizes but remains afloat, it’s important to stay calm and follow certain steps to ensure your safety. Here’s what you should do in such a situation:
Stay with the boat: It’s generally safer to stay with the capsized boat unless you have a better chance of rescue by swimming to shore or reaching a nearby safe location. The boat can act as a flotation device and make you more visible to potential rescuers.
Put on a life jacket: If you weren’t already wearing a life jacket, put one on immediately. This will help keep you buoyant and increase your chances of survival.
Assess the situation: Determine the stability of the boat and whether it’s possible to climb on top of it or stay partially submerged, depending on the size and type of boat. If there are others with you, check if they are safe and accounted for.
Use distress signals: If you have any signaling devices such as flares, whistles, or a mirror, use them to attract attention and signal for help. These signals can greatly increase the likelihood of being spotted by rescuers.
Stay visible: If possible, try to make yourself and the boat as visible as you can. If you have brightly colored clothing or objects, wave them or tie them to the boat to attract attention. Keep an eye out for passing boats, aircraft, or any potential rescuers.
Await rescue: If you have a means of communication, such as a marine radio or a cell phone that is still working, use it to call for help. Provide your location, the fact that your boat has capsized but is still afloat, and any other relevant information that can assist rescuers.
Protect yourself from hypothermia: In cold water, the risk of hypothermia increases rapidly. If possible, try to stay out of the water and minimize heat loss. If you must enter the water, keep your clothing on to help insulate your body.
Remember, these steps are general guidelines, and your actions may vary depending on the specific circumstances and conditions. It’s always recommended to take a boating safety course and familiarize yourself with proper safety procedures before going out on the water.