Boating Tips

Safety Tips: That sinking feeling

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Picture the scenario: You’re motoring along merrily; your guests are smiling and chatting. The weather is warm and sunny and the sea is calm. For a moment you take your eyes off the water in front of you to watch your friends laughing and enjoying their cruise.

Suddenly your boat hits a rocky outcrop under the water, which tears open a large hole in the hull. Within minutes, what was destined to be a blissful day out on the water with friends has turned into a life and death struggle for all those aboard. You’re taking on water and sinking fast.

What is the course of action? Leisure Boating rocks the boat to uncover some of the more useful aspects of managing a sinking boat.


In the event of a sinking vessel or an on-board fire keeping your wits about you will save lives. Worrying or panicking about your situation is going to do you no good and your crew looks to you for your knowledge in this situation.


Check to see if the situation is dire enough to make the Mayday call. Push the red “DSC” (Digital select calling) on the VHF radio. Doing this will transmit the boat’s coordinates along with a Mayday beacon to the coast guard.


All the crew members should be wearing a life jacket. There are no exceptions, tall, short, young and old, everyone on board should be fitted with a well-secured life jacket.


Inform whoever you can of your situation with a mayday call. Try and get confirmation that your mayday call has been heard by the coast guard or NSRI.


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