Small sailboats capsize easily, but luckily, they're easy to right. Crawl up onto the overturned hull, grab the centerboard (keel), and lean back, using your weight against the centerboard as a lever to flip the boat over.
When it's upright, crawl aboard and bail out the water. If your capsized boat is a motorboat without a centerboard, righting it will take a bit more doing. Tie one end of a rope to something secure in the middle of the boat, like an oarlock. Toss the free end of the rope up onto the hull.
Crawl onto the hull to grab the free end of the rope, facing the side where the rope is tied. Back up toward the water and lean back, using your weight against the rope to pull the boat over. Once it's upright, scramble on and start bailing.
Put out a boat fire
A fire on a boat is a life-threatening catastrophe, so it's wise to have a plan in place before you leave shore.
Step one: Store fresh fire extinguishers in locations near the galley and the engine compartment, the two most likely locations for fire.
Step two: If fire breaks out, move everyone out of the cabin and get them into life vests. Call VHF channel 16 to report the emergency. Prepare to abandon ship.
Step three: Fight the fire with extinguishers, keeping a clear escape route behind you at all times. Always extinguish fires from the bottom up.
Plug a leak
Water is supposed to stay on the outside of a boat, but inevitably some gets inside due to rain or waves coming over the bow. That's not a big problem. However, when water invades because of a leak, the problem becomes quite real.
Find the trouble spot
Your top priority is to locate the leak. If you can't find it, head for dry land fast. Check to see that the boat's drain plug is closed -- if it's open, that's your culprit.
Heal your hull
If the leak is caused by a failed through-hull fitting, stop it with a conical soft-wood plug that should be tethered to the hull.
Protect with plastic
If the hull is fractured due to impact, place a large plastic sheet across the leak on the outside of the hull. Secure the plastic with ropes. Water pressure will help hold it in place as you carefully head for land.
Use old faithful
If all else fails, you can repair small cracks with duct tape.