If caught on a boat in a storm, captains should prepare the boat by making sure that all hatches, windows and doorways are closed to prevent flooding, that bilges are cleared of water and that gear and other loose objects are safely stored. Navigation lights should be on and speed slowed to the minimum to maintain steering and headway. All passengers should wear life vests.

The captain should gather all passengers into the center of the ship to stabilize the weight distribution. If there is lightning present, all electrical devices should be turned off. The captain and passengers should avoid touching metal objects. It's up to the captain to determine if it's better to ride the storm out in open water or to head to the nearest safe shoreline. When heading to shore during a storm, the bow of the boat should approach the waves at a 45 degree angle. If the engine shuts off during the storm, the captain should drop a sea anchor off the bow to reduce drift and keep the boat turned into the wind. If the ship is not equipped with a sea anchor device, a bucket may be a suitable replacement in an emergency.