Over the years, I’ve heard quite a few stories about boats capsizing or getting swamped. More than I care to admit, in fact. The funny thing is, more often than not, the cause of such situations isn’t bad weather or rough waters, but rather simple accidents or carelessness. Keep reading to learn a few tips on how you can prevent this from happening to you when you’re out on the water.
For those who are unclear, there’s a difference between capsizing and swamping a boat. Swamping refers to when a boat remains upright, but takes on water, and capsizing is when a boat runs over in the water. Both can be caused by several things—high waves, someone falling over, etc—but ultimately end in people taking an unplanned swim.
There are several measures you can take to keep your boat intact and yourself dry on the water. For starters, seats are there for a reason. They’re placed in areas where they won’t shift the balance and where people can rest safely at high speeds. Do not sit on the gunwales, seatbacks, bow, or any other spot that will shift the weight dangerously, especially in a smaller boat and especially while the boat’s moving. Furthermore, don’t stand while the boat is moving, as a sudden bump or unexpected collision with a submerged object can not only launch a standing person from the boat, but someone standing makes an easier target for a wayward propeller if the prop brakes off during a collision. Remaining seated also keeps the center of gravity low while you’re moving, which helps maintain balance. You can also add to this by not overloading the boat with gear and balancing the stowed gear evenly.
Being safe while the boat is in motion is a crucial measure to take, as well. Always keep enough lifejackets on the boat for everyone on board and make sure everyone is wearing one while moving. Also, be sure to attach the ignition safety cord to yourself when you’re driving the boat, just to be safe. Lastly, be sure to attach the anchor to the bow, never the stern, when stopping to fish.
Like I said, you’d be surprised at just how many accidents occur on the water each year as a result of careless accidents. By being conscious of your surroundings and maintaining a safe mindset while on the boat, you can avoid causing an emergency that endangers you and everyone else you’re with. Keep the tips listed above in your mind when you’re fishing and you can avoid becoming a statistic or another story.