What to Do if Your Boat Breaks Down Out in the Ocean

Mar 30, 2024

What to Do if Your Boat Breaks Down Out in the Ocean

As a boater, the last thing you expect while spending time on the water is a boat breakdown. Your boat might not start while on the dock or it might stop functioning while having a good time on the water. Although this rarely happens, we recommend you prepare beforehand so you can handle the situation easily. For instance, we advise boaters to invest in our reliable fuel bladder for boats for convenient boating.

Unlike a vehicle, you simply can’t jump out, leaving it on the roadside. Beware that the marine environment is typically harsh, so we advise boaters to implement preventative maintenance and measures such as investing in a marine fuel bladder. We offer tips on what to do in case you experience a boat breakdown in the ocean.

What to Do if Your Boat Breaks Down Out in the Ocean - Marine Fuel Bladder


Don’t Panic

The first thing you should do in case you find yourself in such a situation is to get your emotions under control and avoid pressing the panic button. If you panic, things will only worsen. If you’re out boating with friends or family, we recognize the importance of calming everyone while you try to solve the issue.

We recognize that confidence is one way of doing so. Therefore, you should inform your passengers that everything is under control while you seek help calmly. We also recommend you focus your mind on the task at hand and ensure your fuel bladder for boats is on standby in case you run out of fuel amidst the crisis.

Have Various Distress Signals

Even a minor issue could turn into an emergency quickly in which case you might lack control. In case you find yourself in such a situation, we recommend you seek the help of the authorities or another skipper. That’s why we recommend varied distress signals on your vessel. Some signals that can come in handy under such circumstances include

  • Emergency signals throughout the night and day
  • Your boat should comprise two kinds of distress signals throughout the day: a smoke torch and an orange flag. We recommend you position the emergency signals on top of your vessel should it break down. This way, others will notice that you’re miles away and work to rescue you.

Offer an Effective Channel of Communication

The minute your vessel breaks down, the obvious thing to do is to make an emergency call. Your phone might not work because of a bad network. In that case, we advise boaters to have a reliable communication device on their boat.

We recognize that most boat dealers offer VHF signals as well as other emergency kits. Ensure your VHF is reliable with channels, that can function during distress, for instance, channel 16. We recommend a VHF radio for various reasons. For instance, they’re easy to use, they can withstand adverse weather, and their reception is stable, unlike cell phones. A VHF radio offers a better signal and allows the Coast Guard to track that signal to locate you.

Offer Safety Equipment

Ensure you don’t find yourself in a circumstance where you can’t remember where you placed your safety equipment in case a breakdown occurs. We recommend you conduct regular checks for expiration dates and wear and substitute missing items as soon as possible. Other important equipment you want to carry on your long trip includes a marine fuel bladder to avoid unnecessary inconveniences.

Common Causes of Boat Breakdowns

Noisy Boat

If you discover that your boat isn’t functioning at the ordinary strength and you’ve ruled out a lack of fuel, it’s possible it could be operating with bad plugs or it might be experiencing filter issues. To prevent these issues, we advise boaters to carry an additional fuel filter for each trip. However, if you lack a spare the day you have a breakdown, don’t panic. The filter simply needs removal for cleaning.

Ensure you eliminate accumulated debris and items along with accumulated water. It’s also likely that your boat’s fuel is bad if you haven’t used it over a long period. Keep in mind that leaving your boat’s fuel tank empty for extended periods can leave condensation and water in the tank, which could be problematic. We therefore recommend you resolve such issues beforehand. On the same note, you want to carry a marine fuel bladder while you’re out in the ocean to avoid being stranded because you’ve run out of fuel.

Overheating Engine

If you notice the temperature indicator rising while you’re out in the water, it’s an indication that your vessel could overheat, implying that the water isn’t flowing well in the cooling circuit. Unlike vehicles, boats don’t have radiators. Instead, they depend on the water flow to cool the engine. Therefore, if something occurs and the water flow stops, the engine will possibly overheat. We advise boaters to be cautious when purchasing used boats.

We further recommend you purchase from trusted dealers since most engines in used boats might be broken. Therefore, we advise you to perform a thorough checkup before you purchase a boat. You should trace the root of the problem in such a case.

Typically, water intake issues can be the result of a blockage. After all, things such as plastic, weeds, and mud can block the hose pump. You want to locate and eliminate them. Again, a broken, loose, or cut hose might be the source of the issue, so you want to consider a replacement. Meanwhile, you want to make sure your fuel bladders for boats are on standby to address fuel issues.

A Broken Belt

While it’s virtually impossible to hear a boat’s belt breaking from the engine’s noise, you’ll recognize a problem once the warning light goes on. Once you have a broken belt, your boat won’t have an alternator or water pump, and your vessel will overheat or stop functioning. That’s why we suggest you carry a spare belt. In case you don’t have one, consider a fishing line though it won’t function for a long period. In most instances, pulley corrosion can cause belt damage. Therefore, we advise boaters to inspect the pulley and belt to ensure they’re functioning effectively.

Experiencing a boat breakdown in the ocean can be a nightmare, especially if you’re alone. Although this is a rare occurrence, you should be ready in case it happens. Always offer proper maintenance and care for your vessel and sail with emergency kits onboard in case an unforeseen incident takes place. We also recommend you invest in a marine fuel bladder, which will come in handy under such a circumstance.

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