Small Boat Safety

boat sinkingIt doesn’t require a 40 ft. cabin cruiser to enjoy boating, but those who have small boats need to be aware of their limitations. More than 80% of all boating accidents occur in boats less than 26 feet in length, and often the result is capsizing the boat or falling overboard.

A contributing factor, according to the Coast Guard, there are the four causes of boating accidents:

  • excessive speed
  • reckless operation
  • operator inattention/inexperience and
  • BUI: “Boating Under the Influence”.

But there are other hazards that affect small open boats. The wave-size-to-boat ratio is much less than for larger boats, and a small boat will fill with water more quickly if  a large or even  smaller waves hit the boat.

Transom and helm positions are open and small boats have smaller and fewer bilge pumps, if they have them at all. Also, decks are not watertight, and water can enter and damage the control cables, leaving the boat stranded.

Also small boats have little or no freeboard so It’s easy to overload; and the distance between the top edge of the boat and the waterline is even less when fully loaded. Overloading can cause a small boat to capsize, even in relatively calm waters.

A small boat’s maximum load capacity is critical. Boats up to 20 feet long have critical  information on the capacity and weight limits affixed to the hull. Standing or moving in a small boat, even if changing seats, will affect the boat’s stability and can result in someone falling overboard. Any captain should make certain their boat is in good working order.

Investing in high quality Canvas Covers from CMC Canvas LLC to protect your boat will make sure that your entire small boat experience is a safe one.