How can you avoid capsizing your boat? Here, we share tips on how to prevent a boat from capsizing and what to do if this happens.

Prevention Tips and What to Do If Your Boat Capsizes

preventing boat capsizeWhat should you do if you are on a boat that capsizes? If you are a boater on Washington State waters, you should know the answer to this question to keep you and your family safe. Many of the boating fatalities in the state take place after a boat capsizes. However, knowing a simple list of things to do before and after a boat capsizes can minimize the risk that you or a loved one will be injured or killed in a boating accident.

Preventive Steps You Can Take to Avoid Your Boat From Capsizing

The majority of boat capsizing incidents are caused by operational mistakes. In some cases, a boat’s operator could turn the boat too quickly, use the sail inappropriately, or make errors because he is intoxicated. Speeding is another preventable cause of a boat overturning. Improper distribution of the weight in the boat, boat leaks, and bad weather are other reasons that a boat can capsize.

While you cannot control the weather, many causes of capsizing are avoidable. You can take important steps—some even before you get on a boat—to avoid one of these tragic accidents. Here are ways to reduce the risk of your boat capsizing:

  • Take boat safety and water safety courses.
  • Make certain that everyone on the boat is wearing a well-fitting and secured life jacket
  • Go over the location of safety items with everyone on the boat, including the location of the boat’s horn and flares. 
  • Make sure everyone is familiar with the planned route. 
  • Tell a friend or family member not going on the trip your planned trip, route, and your return time. 
  • Paint the hull of your boat a bright color so that it can be seen more easily from the air. 
  • Require passengers to sit in designated seats and remain seated while the boat is in the water.
  • Evenly balance the weight in the boat. This is especially important in a small boat.
  • Secure the bow anchor to the bow and not the stern

What Should You Do If Your Boat Capsizes?

It is essential that you know what to do in the event that your boat capsizes. You should take these immediate steps:

  • Remain calm.
  • Do a head count and check everyone for injuries or immediate dangers. 
  • Make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket or has a floatation device.
  • Do not leave the capsized boat as it is easier to spot in the water.
  • Try to climb on the hull to stay warmer.
  • Try to right the boat if you have knowledge on how to do so. 
  • Use signaling devices, such as flares, whistles, flashlights, and mirrors, to call for help. 
  • Use a hand-held VHF radio to call for assistance.

Even if you take these safety precautions, a negligent boat operator could cause the boat that you are in to capsize, and you could suffer serious injuries, such as broken bones, traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, or drowning. To learn about your rights to compensation for your injuries, call our office to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.