No matter how calm the weather is, you should always prepare for things to go bad whenever you board a boat. It does not matter if it is a speedboat, sailboat or pontoon boat you are riding in Michigan, you should always consider the possibility of it capsizing or sinking.
Aside from always wearing a life jacket, you should know the steps to take should you encounter a disaster while sailing on the water.
Do not panic
Of course, the urge to panic is almost unavoidable, but you should do your best to stay calm because being in a state of panic will not help you in your situation. Besides, you already have a life jacket, so you will definitely float.
Do not thrash around too much, as well. This will only tire you out quickly. Treading will also make you lose your strength and body heat much faster, which, in turn, could cause you to suffer from hypothermia. When your body temperature falls to a dangerous level, your organs would no longer be able to function properly.
Account for everyone
If you have passengers, do a headcount as soon as you have managed to calm yourself down. Make sure that all of your passengers are accounted for. If there are missing individuals, look for a floating device first before you set out to search for them.
You need the floating device in case your other passengers do not have their life jackets on. Letting other passengers hang onto you would only increase the possibility of all of you sinking and drowning. Do not crowd the passengers in only one floating device, though.
Hang onto something
If your boat capsizes but does not sink, try to hang onto it for support. Better, try to climb onto it. It is important that you get out of the water to conserve your body heat and energy.
If your boat sinks, on the other hand, yes, trying to survive would be a lot harder since you do not have a boat to climb onto. Keep in mind, however, that panicking will only make things even worse. So, try to stay calm and look for any other thing that can float. Wood planks, oars, coolers, or any boat debris that can help you stay afloat could be your ticket to survival.
Signal for help
When you have boarded the boat or found something to hand onto, signal for help and wait for rescuers to arrive. If you and the rest of your passengers are wearing life jackets, you should all huddle close together to maintain body heat. If you do not have anyone with you, meanwhile, lift your legs up to your chest and hug them to keep yourself warm.
A capsized boat does not have to be a death sentence. As long as you know what to do in the event that your boat encounters an accident, you will be able to survive this ordeal and have a great story to tell your grandchildren.