Each year more than 5,000 boats capsize in the United States, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Those accidents cause 800+ deaths annually due to drowning and other factors. Severe injuries are also common. Many of these fatalities could have been prevented if they did not leave their boat after it capsized.
What Should I Do if My Boat Is Capsizing?
A capsizing boat can be hectic; however, there are things you can do to ensure your survival.
Remain calm so that you can think through the situation. It’s essential to keep everyone who was in the boat together. You can do this by holding onto the boat or linking arms together. This will make you more visible.
Don’t Swim Ashore
No matter how close the shore appears to be and how strong of a swimmer you are, attempting to make the trek is a mistake. There will likely be currents and other obstacles in the way. Instead, stay with the boat and the other people who were in the vessel.
Try to Right Your Boat
If your small boat capsized, you should try to turn it upright and bail out the water. If you cannot right your boat, everyone should get as much of themselves onto the hull as possible. Lean your weight onto it so that you don’t have to tread water to support yourself. You should be wearing a life vest, which will aid you in floatation as well.
Dangers of Leaving Your Boat After Capsizing
The best thing you can do after a boating accident is to stay with your boat. There are many reasons this is beneficial, including:
- It’s easier for the Coast Guard to find you when you stay with your boat.
- Your capsized boat may recover on its own.
- You may be able to get a small boat upright.
- The boat can be used as a flotation device.
- Larger vessels may have smaller lifeboats or life rafts for use.
- A short swim to shore can cause even a strong swimmer to become fatigued.
- You will still have access to the resources on the boat.
Everyone who was on the boat should stay together and remain with the boat. The only reason you should consider leaving the boat is if it is headed toward a hazard.
How to Prevent Capsizing
The best thing you can do is prevent capsizing from happening in the first place. You can also be prepared in the event of such an emergency.
Monitor the Weather
If the forecast calls for storms that might result in rough waters, don’t set sail until the worst winds have subsided.
Make Sure You Have Plenty of Life Jackets
You should have one life jacket per person, and all passengers should wear them while on the boat. Ensure that the life vests are appropriately fitted for the age and size of the passenger as well. Other floatation devices should be carried onboard also.
Take Signaling Devices With You on the Boat
These may include flares, reflective tape on the boat, flotation methods, and a radio. Your radio should be waterproof and work with solar or manual power in case it gets wet.
Take an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon
Consider taking an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon device on your boat. It will alert rescue personnel in the event of an emergency. It will also transmit your location to the authorities so that they can find you faster.
How a Lawyer Can Help
Boating accidents happen for many reasons throughout Ohio, especially in Kellys Island and Put-in-Bay. If you were involved in a boat accident, regardless of the cause, you need to contact a lawyer right away. Your attorney can conduct an investigation and determine who should be held financially liable for your losses.
Call the boat accident lawyers at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA today at 419-625-7770 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.