Five Important Safety Tips if Your Boat Capsizes

Early morning June 30th, the U.S. Coast Guard received a distress call from a man claiming that his boat had capsized.  The man informed the Coast Guard that he could see large buildings in the distance, and he believed he was off the coast of Palm Beach.  The Coast Guard, with assistance from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, searched the Palm Beach County coast for the capsized boat.  That afternoon the Lake Worth dispatch station confirmed that the boat and its six passengers were rescued off the coast of Jupiter.

The ocean can be both fun and dangerous. Storms in South Florida seem to pop out of nowhere and rough seas often accompany them.  Here are some tips to keep you safe if you get caught in a bad situation.

    1. Prevention is always the best deterrent to accidents.  Always check the weather reports before leaving the dock.  Also, be sure that the captain of the boat has completed Coast Guard sanctioned safety classes.  Lastly, ALWAYS keep personal floatation devices handy.
    2. Always stay with the boat if possible. Sea searches are conducted on the water and through the air.  Either way, the best way to be spotted is to stay with the boat.  A lone swimmer may only look like a basketball floating in the water, while a boat is much easier to spot.
    3. If the boat has capsized, try to climb out of the water to the top of the hull. Hypothermia kills.  Water exposure takes away body heat 25 times faster than air.
    4. Always keep a readily accessible waterproof bag on board in case of an emergency.In this bag, be sure to include flares, distress signals, a whistle, and a registered emergency position-indicating radio beacon (ERIRB).
  1. NEVER boat while under the influence.  It is both illegal and dangerous.

Spending time on the water should be safe and enjoyable for all.  With the upcoming Fourth of July, many South Floridians will be out spending their long weekend on boats. Take the proper safety precautions seriously, and enjoy some fun in the sun!

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