There are many who dream of owning their own boat and sailing off to many different and interesting locations. For those lucky enough to fulfil their ambition, many enjoy a trouble-free passage and many memorable times, but sadly the unthinkable happens sometimes and you can be involved in an accident. Here is a look at how to deal with a boating accident and how to follow safety guidelines to prevent it occurring in the first place.
It is always advisable to familiarise yourself with the operational features and characteristics of your particular boat, and even get a mobile boat service company to check your boat is operating correctly. Take the time to go on a basic boat safety course so that you understand and appreciate the various aspects of boat handling and operation as well as gaining the knowledge to create a checklist and log, which could prove vital in an emergency situation.
There are so many aspects to boat safety, including how to stay healthy on your boat, the dangers of hypothermia, testing your lifejackets and essential boat maintenance tips that can help you to troubleshoot a number of situations.
In the event of an emergency
The main thing that you need to remember is that you need to respond in a calm, clear-thinking manner in the event of an emergency - an approach that could be critical in a life and death situation.
The key approach is to inspect and evaluate any damage that may have occurred to the boat’s hull and also establish the well-being of any other passengers as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence in an emergency scenario and having established that the boat is not in immediate danger following an accident, every passenger in need of medical attention should be assessed without further delay and a joint decision made if there is a danger that the vessel may become un-seaworthy.
Abandoning the vessel
Depending on the severity of the boating accident and other relevant circumstances, it may quickly become apparent that preparations are needed for abandoning the vessel.
If this is the case, depending on the amount of time that you have available before the situation becomes life-threateningly critical, you should gather supplies together to take with you such as food, water and medical equipment.
A call should be made to the coast guard as a matter of priority especially as an initial inspection of the vessel may not actually reveal the true extent of the damage and could lead to an emergency situation developing faster than you anticipated.
Avoid hasty decisions
Remain as calm and level-headed as you possibly can in order to avoid making hasty decisions that could result in a fatal error.
Having a safety and emergency protocol in place will help you to cope in a crisis and give you the opportunity of following a series of logical steps that could make all the difference to the survival of all the passengers.
Having someone who is accepted as the boat captain and can take charge with a series of instructions and safety procedures will help everyone on board to cope if the unthinkable happens.
It goes without saying that boat safety should always be a primary consideration and having a clear plan of action will help you to cope much better in the event of an emergency situation.
Andy Kerr enjoys taking his boys boating every chance they get around Port Phillip Bay. His has been boating for over a decade and his articles mainly focus on marine and boat safety.