Watercraft are designed to remain buoyant despite encounter rough sea conditions. Additionally, vessels are rated to carry specific weight capacities to prevent the boat from becoming unstable. However, situations occur when the load becomes too heavy, the seas become too rough, and as a result, the vessel overturns. Operators must be prepared for these types of situations in the unlikely event they occur. What should you do if your boat capsizes in Georgia, South Carolina, or North Carolina?

Why Do Boats Capsize

Boats capsize for a multitude of reasons. The primary reason is the failure to maneuver the vessel correctly during periods of high seas.

While extreme wave conditions flip watercraft with no fault to the operator, skill, and experience is involved in approaching waves at specific angles. 


Inlets which merge inland waters and the open ocean are prone to the capsizing of vessels. When the tide flows out and the wind blows toward the shore, steep waves form. As a result, boats driving straight on into a breaking wave flip backward. Experienced operators must only traverse inlets. Inlets are dangerous


As unlikely as it sounds, operators capsize boats due to improperly navigating wakes. Wakes range from small to massive. Similar to inlets, the mishandling of a vessel wake results in capsizing. 


Boats become swamped for a multitude of reasons. The reasons include backing into a sea, waves breaking over the bow, stuffing the bow in rough seas, improper anchoring, and others. 

Swamping is the inundation of water resulting in instability. The extreme amount of water onboard causes the boat to capsize. 

How Do you Prevent A Boat From Capsizing

As you know, boats capsize for a multitude of reasons. While not every capsizing situation is avoidable, proper navigation aids in preventing the catastrophe. 


First off, check the weather. Avoid outgoing currents with a heavy sea opposing the flow of the inlet. Secondly, point the bow at a 45-degree angle to the waves to help prevent capsizing. 


Similar to inlets, face the boat at a 45-degree angle when approaching wakes that are substantial in size. Additionally, maintain power to avoid the hull from stuffing into the wave and swamping the vessel. 


Where do we start? There is a multitude of reasons why vessels become swamped. Never anchor the boat solely from the stern. Avoid overloading the bow with passengers. Maintain power to keep the bow elevated rather than stuffing waves. Avoid backing into seas to prevent water from rushing over the stern.

How To Prepare For A Boat Capsizing

While we can never fully prepare for the moment a boat capsizes, we can learn how to handle the situation should it occur. 

File a float plan with family members or a friend. The float plan should provide details on where you are traveling and when you will be back. 

Communication is critical. When spending time on the water, place your phone in a zip lock bag stowed in a pocket. Should the boat capsize, a means of communication is possible. 

Vessels capsize at a moment’s notice. Wear an inflatable personal flotation device or inflatable life vest at all times. 

Prepare a ditch bag with signaling devices, water, and snacks. Make your best effort to safely grab the bag before the boat overturning. 

What Should You Do If Your Boat Capsizes

The answer on what to do if your boat capsizes is highly dependent on the situation. When the emergency includes passengers, the correct decision is challenging.

While swimming to shore is ideal when within a safe range, this may not be the case with everyone onboard. Rescue percentages increase when staying alongside the boat or climbing onto the hull as the vessel is more easily spotted. 

Should the boat drift away, take hold of any floating objects to make yourself appear more prominent, thus making you more visible. 

In saltwater, avoid ingesting the seawater as you become delirious from rapid dehydration. 

Ensure that all passengers are safe. Connect everyone together. Again, this increases the chances of rescue. 

What Should You Do If Your Boat Capsizes: Now You Know

While capsizings are rare, it is essential to know how to help prevent the situation. Additionally, and what to should the unthinkable happen. Watercraft succumb to capsizing year after year, and unfortunately, it has lead to deaths. Avoid rough weather conditions and understand how to prevent the situation. The question no longer remains what should you do if your boat capsizes.