Centerboard Push


  • Practice and develop the rescue skill of approaching and righting a capsized sailboat, using the Centerboard Push method.

Setting Up the Drill:

  • Equipment: sailboat with flotation at top of mast to prevent turtling and a long line attached to the mast tip to capsize the boat (secured at both ends to prevent possible entanglement). Boat is preferably rigged with sails.
  • Additional equipment: if the sailboat needs to be anchored in position, an anchor and rode will be required.

Conducting the Drill:

  • After proceeding to the operating area, pull the sailboat over into the capsized position, using the line attached to the mast tip.
  • Each operator maneuvers the boat to a position perpendicular to the hull of the capsized sailboat.
  • On powerboats with a high bow, the operator may need to approach the capsized boat at a 45 degree angle.
  • A crew member on the powerboat will then right the boat, using the centerboard push.
  • After each righting, the boat is capsized using the line attached to the mast tip.

Teaching Tips:

  • This recovery method is most suitable for a small lightweight sailboat. For larger boats, it may not be possible to right the boat in this manner or may require one rescue crew member to actually get on the centerboard.
  • If the drill is being conducted in a confined area or to expedite the drill, it may be necessary to anchor the sailboat.
  • Use the long line attached to the mast tip to capsize the sailboat.

Common Errors:

  • Making approach at a speed too fast or having to reverse abruptly with power.
  • Losing control of the sailboat while righting and it capsizes in the opposite direction due to the mast being filled with water and becoming very heavy.
  • Poor communication between the operator and crew.


  • Safety & Rescue Boat Handling On-Water Skill Standard 3.5 and its rubrics
  • Safety, Rescue & Support Boat Handling textbook pg. 66