Surviving a Boat in a Storm: 2 Vital Calls

As a boat owner or enthusiast, encountering a storm while out on the water can be a terrifying experience. The combination of turbulent waves, strong winds, and limited visibility can pose a significant threat to both the safety of the passengers and the integrity of the vessel. In such situations, it is imperative to know how to survive a boat in a storm.

Understanding the Risks

Before delving into the specific actions to take during a storm at sea, it’s crucial to understand the potential risks involved. Here are some of the primary dangers to be aware of:

  • Capsizing: High waves and intense winds can easily cause a boat to capsize, leading to potential injuries or even fatalities.
  • Flooding: Heavy rain or waves crashing over the deck can quickly flood the boat, putting it at risk of sinking.
  • Loss of Control: Strong winds can make it difficult to steer the boat, leading to loss of control and potential collisions with other vessels or submerged objects.
  • Injuries: Sudden movements of the boat can cause passengers to fall and sustain injuries, especially if they are not properly secured.

Vital Calls to Survive a Boat in a Storm

In the face of a storm at sea, there are two vital calls that every boat owner or passenger should make to improve their chances of survival:

1. Call for Help

The first and most critical call to make in a storm situation is to notify the authorities of your whereabouts and the nature of your emergency. This can be done by radio, satellite phone, or any other means of communication available on board. Providing your exact coordinates and a description of your boat can help rescuers locate you more quickly.

Steps to Follow:
  • Stay Calm: It’s essential to remain calm and composed while making the distress call. Speak clearly and provide the necessary information concisely.
  • Give Details: Describe the situation accurately, including the size of your boat, the number of passengers on board, and any injuries or damage sustained.
  • Follow Instructions: If the authorities provide you with instructions or guidance, make sure to follow them promptly and precisely.

2. Call for Action on Board

In addition to calling for external help, it is crucial to take immediate action on board to enhance your chances of survival. This includes implementing safety measures and making strategic decisions to navigate the storm safely.

Actions to Take:
  • Secure Loose Items: Ensure that all loose items on deck are secured or stowed away to prevent them from causing damage or injury during rough seas.
  • Check Life Saving Equipment: Verify that life jackets, life rafts, and other safety equipment are easily accessible and in good working condition.
  • Reduce Speed: Slow down the boat to minimize the impact of waves and improve stability. Avoid making sharp turns or sudden maneuvers.
  • Keep Communication Open: Maintain communication among passengers and crew members to coordinate actions and provide reassurance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Should I stay below deck during a storm?
  2. It is generally safer to stay above deck during a storm to monitor the situation and respond to emergencies promptly. However, if the conditions are too severe, seek shelter below deck but ensure proper ventilation and communication.

  3. What should I do if my boat starts taking on water?

  4. If your boat is taking on water, use any available means to plug the leak, such as bailing, using onboard pumps, or emergency repair kits. Additionally, alert the authorities and prepare to abandon ship if necessary.

  5. Is it safe to swim to shore in a storm?

  6. Swimming to shore in a storm is highly dangerous and not recommended, as strong currents, high waves, and limited visibility can put you at risk of exhaustion or drowning. It is safer to stay with the boat and await rescue.

  7. How can I prevent seasickness during a storm?

  8. To prevent seasickness during a storm, stay hydrated, maintain a balanced diet, avoid alcohol, and focus on the horizon or stable objects to reduce motion sickness symptoms. Consult a medical professional for suitable remedies.

  9. What emergency signals should I use in a storm?

  10. In a storm, use distress signals such as continuous horn blasts, orange smoke flares, or flashing lights to indicate that you require assistance. Familiarize yourself with the appropriate signaling devices on your boat.

Remember, preparation is key to surviving a boat in a storm. By staying informed, maintaining communication, and taking proactive measures, you can increase your chances of weathering the storm safely.


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