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How to Know When it is Time to Abandon Ship

Summary: One of the toughest decisions a captain can make is deciding to abandon their ship for safety reasons.


Boating can be tremendously rewarding, because it can give you the opportunity to explore, immerse yourself in nature, and learn a variety of different skills. There are plenty of things a captain must keep track of the make sure everything is fine with the boat and that the crew knows what must be done to safely complete the trip, no matter the occasion. Even when it seems like everything is going according to plan, something unexpected can occur that can leave you scrambling to find the next course of action.


The decision to jump ship and leave your boat behind is not a light one but it might be the correct one.


Run Through Hypothetical Scenarios


A solid way to prepare for a dangerous situation out at sea is to run through hypothetical scenarios ahead of time. Think about different obstacles you could run into and plan out different approaches you could take to overcome them. If, for example, your Turtle-Pac fuel bladder runs out and you are stranded without the necessary fuel to make it back to shore. Do you have the right tools to get in touch with individuals who can pick you up or deliver fuel?


Snap Decisions


Getting creative with the different situations and coming up with fast and practical solutions will help you spring into action when something actually does go wrong. A collision mat can temporarily patch up holes and fire extinguishers can help put out unexpected fires on the boat. If the tools you have are not enough and your passengers’ lives are at risk, you will need to use your best judgment and quickly plan an exit. Abandoning ship is a last-resort measure that should only be taken when every other option has either been tried or if it is too dangerous to stay onboard.

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