Preventing Capsizing, Swamping, or Falling Overboard
To help prevent and prepare for capsizing, swamping, or someone falling overboard, follow these guidelines.
- Make sure that you and your passengers are wearing life jackets while the boat is underway.
- Attach the ignition safety switch lanyard to your wrist, clothes, or life jacket.
- Don't allow anyone to sit on the gunwale, bow, seat backs, motor cover, or any other area not designed for seating. Also, don't let anyone sit on pedestal seats when operating at a speed greater than idle speed.
- Don't overload your boat. Balance the load of all passengers and gear.
- Keep your center of gravity low by not allowing people to stand up or move around while underway, especially in smaller, less-stable boats.
- In a small boat, don't allow anyone to lean a shoulder beyond the gunwale.
- Slow your boat appropriately when turning.
- Don't risk boating in rough water conditions or in bad weather.
- When anchoring, secure the anchor line to the bow, never to the stern.
Sitting on the gunwale, bow, seat backs, or any other area not designed for seating is risky behavior and can result in falling overboard. It is illegal in many states.