What Should You Do if Your Boat Capsizes?

Last Updated on March 9, 2021

Riding a boat is a pleasant experience, but it can be disastrous if somehow the boat gets capsized. Often people get freaked out in this situation and do things that make the condition even worse.

We are here to tell you what to do and what not to do if you ever have to face anything like this. Who knows, maybe reading this article will save your life someday.

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What to Do and What Not to Do if Your Boat Capsizes

Capsizing means when a boat somehow gets upside down or the boat floats on its side while it is on water. It happens when the boat is overloaded, or when the weather is rough, or if the boat is not sailed according to its design.

Boat Capsizes

A capsized boat doesn’t normally sink easily, which helps people to float around the boat by holding it. Let’s see what you should do if your boat ever capsizes.

Stay Calm

No matter what happens, stay calm; it’s a bit of general advice. I know it is very tough to remain calm in this situation, but you have to keep in mind that you won’t get any benefit from panicking.

In fact, it will make things more difficult. Panicking is contagious; seeing you getting panicked might also freak out others.

Find a Way to Save Yourself

If you are not wearing a life jacket, try to find one and wear it immediately. Can’t wear it? Then hold onto it. If you can’t find any jacket, look for a lifebuoy or anything floatable. First, make sure that you are safe, and then you can help others.

Check out if Everyone Else is Safe

Make a headcount as soon as you are in a safe position. If anyone needs help, reach and take him/her to a safe position.

Help everyone to get a life jacket of his or her own. Particularly if there are kids, pregnant women, or elderly people in the boat, give special attention to them. Try to keep everyone close to the boat.

Stay with the Boat

This is very important. A capsized boat is larger than the human body, and so it is visible from a distance.

If anyone is looking for you, it will be easier to notice a boat rather than a few heads floating on the water. Also, it is possible that you might be able to straighten the boat and get saved, so stay with it.

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Try to Get Warm and Dry

When you stay in the water for a long time, your body temperature begins to drop and might cause hypothermia. So, if possible, try to get onto the boat if it is safe, and keep yourself as drier as possible.

Don’t take off your clothes; it is a common misconception that getting rid of your clothes will help you to stay floating in the water. In fact, clothes will help you to stay warmer by keeping the body heat inside.

Seek Help

Look for signaling devices. If there are smoke flares or signal flares in the boat, use them. If these are not in the boat, see if there are lighter or matches with anyone.

You can burn something and make SOS signal with it if you are not too far from the shore. Nowadays, some phones are made water-resistant. If you are lucky enough by having any of these phones in this situation, immediately try to reach help by calling emergency numbers.

Appear Higher and Bigger

Try to make the boat and yourself as high as possible, which will help you to become visible from afar. Also, try to make the boat look bigger by attaching other floating things with it. It will help to make the boat visible if someone is looking for you with a helicopter.

Precautions You Have to Take

Arrange life jackets for everyone in the boat before starting the journey. Make sure everyone is wearing it. Don’t wait for any catastrophe to happen and then wear it. Prevention is better than cure, so before starting the trip, get assured that the boat is fine and check the weather forecast.

Wear a light-colored dress; it helps to gain more visibility from a distance. Inform some people or the coastguard of your route and possible time frame of the trip before leaving the shore; keep them updated on your status. If anything, bad happens, they will try to reach you for rescuing.

Keep some dry food, emergency medicines, first aid kits, and signaling devices in a floatable water-resistant box.


These are some practical and life-saving tips for facing a capsized boat situation. Remember to take proper precautions before starting your boat, stay calm and safe during the tough situation. Seek help and help others.

Now that you have read this article don’t forget to share it with your friends and family. We wish no one have to experience anything like this ever in their life. But if it is written in their fate, at least they will know what to do in the situation by reading this piece.

Lastly, stay safe in every situation!