Have a Sinking Ship? Learn What to Do When Your Boat is Sinking

Have a Sinking Ship? Learn What to Do When Your Boat is Sinking

Your boat sinking may not be something that you think about often, and who could blame you? But do you know what to do when your boat is sinking? What do you do when you start taking on water? Do you know how to handle a sinking ship? These are the difficult questions that one must think about, even if it is your worst nightmare. However, just like with everything else in life, being informed and prepared is essential if you want to come out unscathed.

What to Do When Your Boat is Sinking
Time is of the essence when your boat starts to take on water, so you must act quickly. Learn what to do when your boat is sinking by checking out these lifesaving steps.

1. If your passengers are not already wearing a life jacket, make sure they put one on. The odds of drowning are roughly 6 times less likely with a life jacket on.
2. Calm down! Panicking will only affect your ability to think clearly and rationally, so try not to panic. Instead, make sure you breathe!
3. Tune your emergency VHF radio to Channel 16 to radio the U.S. Coast Guard. When you make your Mayday call, be sure to inform them on the amount of passengers you have, your location, if there are injuries, your boat’s name, and an estimated time on how much longer you can stay afloat.
4. If possible, once you made the distress call send up your visual distress signals.
5. If you did not crash and you are sinking, you likely have a leak. Find the leak and do whatever you can to slow or prevent additional flooding.
6. Try to pump out the water by using your bilge pump, or if you can, remove the raw-water intake hose and run the throttle to use the engine as an emergency pump.
7. Try to get back to shore, no matter how far out you are, try to get as close as possible. Another option is to beach the boat if there is a sandbar nearby.
8. Stay on the boat as long as you can. It will keep you dry and warm for a longer period of time. However, if you have to call it quits, don’t forget to take your necessary supplies with you.


New York Marine Trades Association
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