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.

  1. Ensure that everyone onboard is wearing a life jacket or PFD.
  1. Visually and/or verbally confirm that all passengers are present and accounted for.
  1. Determine if there are other craft in the vicinity that may offer assistance.
  1. Determine if there is any danger of being hit by other boat traffic. If you and your passengers are far from shore or unable to reach shore, stay with your boat. If your craft is not fully submerged, climb onto the overturned hull. This will help you retain energy, increase your survival time in cold weather/water conditions and increase your visibility to other boaters. However, only re-board the capsized vessel if it is still afloat, seaworthy and safe to do so. If it is appropriate to leave the craft (less than 50m to shore), swim to shore and immediately get assistance.
  1. If necessary, signal your need for help using a recognized distress signal.

Safe Boating Tip: If your boat capsizes and you are more than 50m from shore, don’t try to swim to shore!