One thing you can never anticipte... A major catastrophe 15 miles out at sea. What do you do? How are you prepared? Are you the boat owner and do you have all possible measures to ensure everyone survivies? Are you the passenger and did you do any preparation to ensure that you will be able to survive if you go overboard? Did you make sure to fit your life jacket on before you left the dock? Is there any way you could be found if the boat radio dies?
Horifying thoughts your not going to want to think about until that moment is too late unfortunately...
This article is not to scare you, but to bring to light a reality that exists and has just happened to my brother today. One that I myself have experienced and feel that there can never be enough awareness for those who don't have the understanding in what dangers really exist on a private boat. I clarify PRIVATE because commercial boats such as charters, go through stringent Coast Guard inspections and testing to assure public safety measures and equipment checks to make sure standards are met. With private boats unfortunately it's the Wild Wild West....
On June 18th 2023 early morning (Father's Day), my brother 15 miles out of the harbor of Dana Point in So Cal, experienced significant water in his boat. A situation that was near catastrophic and where in most cases, boat owners would have likely failed to find a way to find a resolution in panic possibly having the boat sink and maybe loss of life. His first reaction was to be patient and think. This allowed him to rationalize, quickly make an action plan, and react immediately to properly correct the situation and get him back home safe.
Two bilge pumps failed. A hose for his live bait tank came unsecured and caused siginificant water to enter his hull mainly while the boat was moving due to the design of the intake for the bait well hole. Ultimately what saved my brother and his two friends on the boat was that he had a manual pump out device, his batteries were located in a place above the deck where despite the boat being filled with water, they staid dry, so he had the capability to use the radio to make the coast guard aware of his situation as well as the ability to get one of his bilge pumps working and to run his main motor to get back in after finding the source of the leak.
There are steps for proper boating that every boater should take at the recommendtion of the Coast Guard. A list to follow. Equipment to have, training to have completed to have a boaters license and an active FLOAT PLAN. The float plan is communications to make sure several parties know you are going out, where abouts you plan to go and when you plan to return. In the event you don't, there is some gauge for search and resucue to have start point on where to start from.
Regardless if it's your cousins boat, your co-workers boat, your fellow club members boat, ect. understand your deciding to get on that vessel. The only person you can rely on is yourself is the bottom line. Take the time to learn about boats. The best way is to get your boaters licence. This will walk you through a safety course that teaches you about all the aspects of boating and you will be FULLY educucated on safety and operation. It's inexpensive and you will have this for the rest of your life.
On this website under the Resource page, I will add some word documents for boat owners that will have lists I have compiled for safety equipment, pre-launching check lists and other boating related preparation for your reading leisure.... You can never be safe enough, so always prepare and stay on top of your game when it comes to boating whther you are the boat owner or a passanger going out on a boat.