First and foremost, there is an important list of things to do before you even step on the boat:
• Take boat safety and water safety courses. • Make sure that you and everyone else 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 the boat’s flares. • Also make sure that everyone is familiar with the planned route. • Tell a friend or family member not going on the trip your planned route and your planned return time. • Paint the hull of your boat a bright color so that it can be seen more easily from the air.
After a capsize, there are other important steps to make:
• Remain calm • Do a head count and check everyone for injuries or immediate dangers. • Make sure everyone has a floatation device, knowing that coolers and other items can be used. Do not leave the capsized boat unless it is dangerous. • Try to right the boat if you have knowledge on how to do so. • Use signaling devices to call for help. Flares, brightly colored life jackets, whistles, flashlights, and mirrors can help. • If you know it may be a while before you are found, conserve energy and only signal when needed. Try to keep warm and stay strong.