8. Boating Emergencies

Capsizing Emergencies

Capsizing and Person Overboard Emergencies Capsizing is the frightening experience of your boat flipping upside down in the water and it’s consistently the leading cause of all the boating-related fatalities that occur each year in the U.S. The best way to avoid a capsizing situation is to never load your boat beyond the capacity recommendations. […]

Safety in Small Boats

Safety in Small Boats A relaxing glide across the lake in your kayak or canoe is a great way to see the landscapes around you while also getting some exercise! However, this experience can be quickly ruined if your paddle craft or small motorboat is swamped by the wake of another boat. You must practice […]

Cold Water Immersion and Hypothermia

Cold Water Immersion and Hypothermia Capsizing and person overboard emergencies are incredibly dangerous situations. Add cold air and/or cold water temperatures to the equation and the the level of danger increases dramatically. Performing a quick rescue is the MOST important thing to remember if one of your passengers falls into cold water. Why? Because their […]

Propeller Strike Awareness

Your boat’s propeller (also known as the ‘prop’) is a dangerous piece of equipment for swimmers and towed sport participants. Props are underwater objects that spin quickly and force your boat through the water. Contact with a propeller can cause devastating injuries or in some cases, even death. Propeller Safety Equipment If used properly, propeller […]

Swamping or Sinking

Hull Leaks and Flooding Striking underwater hazards such as a submerged rock, sunken island, shoal or deadhead may cause serious damage to your craft resulting in a breach of the hull. If the hull of your craft is breached, leaking and flooding will occur. Improper fitting of the craft’s drain plug or a worn or […]

Person Overboard Emergencies

Person Overboard Emergency Over 40% of all boating fatalities are the result of people falling overboard. You should be prepared with the right knowledge and equipment to rescue a person overboard: Ensure that your emergency equipment is properly maintained and readily accessible Practice overboard rescue techniques with your passengers and make them aware of their responsibilities Practice manoeuvring […]

Surviving Cold Water

Surviving Cold Water Immersion If you find yourself in cold water, do the following to increase your survival time: Immediate Action Step 1) Assess the situation: Is everyone wearing a PFD or life jacket? Can you get to shore or safety? Are there any boaters who can assist you? Are you able to signal or […]

Mechanical Failure and Carbon Monoxide

Breakdown and Mechanical Failure You are required by law to maintain your craft and safety equipment in proper working order. By regularly maintaining and inspecting your vessel, you’ll reduce the risk of an unexpected breakdown. If your craft has broken down or is inoperable due to mechanical failure: Step 1) Use an anchor to secure […]

Boating Emergencies: Fighting a Boat Fire

Fighting a Boat Fire Boat fires can be caused by a number of factors including engine malfunctions, a fire in the galley or insufficient ventilation of an enclosed engine compartment. If a fire or explosion occurs, you can lessen the severity of the emergency by: Ensuring you have the mandatory fire-fighting equipment onboard Ensure fire-fighting equipment […]


Responding to a Capsizing Emergency Overturning your boat, better known as capsizing, is a serious boating emergency. To be prepared, know how to perform the following if this does in fact happen. Ensure that everyone onboard is wearing a life jacket or PFD. Visually and/or verbally confirm that all passengers are present and accounted for. […]