A Passenger on Your Boat Falls Overboard What Should You Do First? – Boatingbasicsonline

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a passenger on your boat-falls-overboard what should you do first

Taking charge of a vessel is a dream for many boaters, but a passenger on your boat falls overboard. What should you do first?

One of the first things you need to do is to alert everyone else of the situation, usually by yelling, “Man overboard! ” . However , there are a few other points to remember. Let’s take a look at these actions we need to take first to rescue a person from the water.

Table of Contents

What to Do First if Someone Falls Overboard


In case someone falls overboard, the 1st thing you need in order to do is to inform everyone of what has happened; the standard procedure is to yell out, “Man overboard! ”.

Nevertheless , there is more to this than letting everyone know what happened. Below are the actions that need to be immediately undertaken as well as the proper method of retrieval.

1. Stop the vessel

When a person falls overboard, it may be difficult to pinpoint his exact location. Stopping the vessel is what can protect him from propeller strikes, which can be fatal, so it needs to be done as soon as possible.

For safety’s sake, have a swimmer wearing a life jacket on standby in case the victim is injured. Likewise, children may need assistance from adults, so a rescuer will be necessary.

In other situations, however, do not jump into the water after the victim. You don’t want to accidentally get injured, especially when the propeller has yet to stop properly.

2. Throw them PFDs

Toss PFDs in the direction of the particular victim; these not only help the person in the water stay afloat but can also serve as additional markers to help track all of them. Receiving this initial help can also keep the victim calm.

If the person is already wearing PFDs in typically the first place, which is recommended in case of accidents, throw additional floating pillows or MOB gears in their direction.

3. Keep eyes on this person who fell

Once you know the victim’s location, it may not be possible to bring these people back onto the boat immediately. If the vessel needs to be maneuvered to help them back on, someone onboard needs to keep their eyes on the person while retrieval is underway.

4. Press often the MOB button on your GPS

Some GPS have a man overboard (MOB) button, which can help you identify the place where a person fell. This will be more accurate the faster you can press your button.

What Can Cause Someone to Fall Overboard

1. Turbulent Waters


Unstable waters may easily cause someone, especially those not used to traveling by boat, to lose their balance. If they’re standing near the edge, they’ll likely fall over into the water.

2. High boating speed

In case the vessel is touring at high speed, it is easy to lose your footing. When slowing down is not an option, keeping seated and avoiding unnecessary risks is a good idea.

3. Balance Difficulties On Board

Losing your balance while on board may result in falling overboard; this is why it is usually dangerous to consume alcohol. However, some people may have difficulties maintaining the necessary balance on a boat. Such people include children and the elderly.

Be sure to pay proper attention to such passengers and lend assistance when necessary.

4. Intoxication


Drinking alcohol is one associated with the most common factors within boating accidents, and there are a lot regarding reasons for it. The fact that inebriation could lead to impaired judgment and loss of balance is bad for anyone, whether they’re operating the exact boat or the passenger.

Falling while navigating a boat becomes more probable the more alcoholic beverages a person has consumed. And when an operator falls overboard, it can spell trouble for everyone.

5. Improperly attended boat

Items on the boat that have been neglected might obstruct people and even cause an accident. Keeping things neat and organized will reduce the number of hazards on board.

6. Slippery boat deck

A wet and slimy boat deck can easily make a person lose their balance, no matter how experienced or strong. As a result, one can easily tumble down into the water body.

How to Prevent People From Falling Overboard


  • Control Alcohol intake


Since alcohol is a common cause involving boating accidents, the best way to avoid such things is by not drinking at all. But if it’s unavoidable, moderation can go the long way.

  • Keep weight on the vessel balanced

If the boat’s weight distribution is usually bad, it could cause problems such as capsizing. Even worse is that it could happen while the vessel is in transit. However, keeping the particular weight well-distributed will help prevent such a problem.

Both cargo and passengers need to be kept centered on the boat.

  • Drive at a moderate speed

Regardless connected with how skilled you are at operating your boat, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make sure the traveling speed is definitely slow enough that everyone can walk around comfortably whenever they need in order to.

  • Clean boat deck regularly


Considering how a slippery vessel deck can result in disastrous accidents, it’ll be wise to be able to keep the surface clean and dry at all times.

  • Stay still upon board

Walking around about the boat while it is in operation creates more risk of falling overboard. By sitting still, we can avoid such issues.

  • Wear a new PFD


While this won’t prevent a person from falling overboard, it can save your life in the event you do fall off or even if the ship capsizes. After all, many boating fatalities involve people who were not wearing PFDs at the time of the accident.

Put the PFD in your pre-departure checklist plus keep it worn while on the boat, along with everything needed for a safe trip.

Where is the Best Place on a Boat to Bring a Person Who Has Fallen Overboard

Normally, pulling for you to the side is your own best bet while positioning the boat so that will the current or wind can help bring the person toward you. This also leaves the person in typically the water away from this propeller.

However, if a passenger on a small boat falls overboard, the vessel may become unbalanced when that person is pulled back onto the boat. In this case, often the stern would be your better place to bring these individuals back on board.

If your vessel has a ladder or some sort of swim platform, these can easily also serve as an excellent place to bring someone back on board.

What to help Do if You Fall Crazy

If your boat capsizes or you fall into the water, it is important to know what you can do in order to increase your chances with survival. The first thing to remember is that you must stay calm; otherwise, an individual may compromise your safety.

If you’re wearing a PFD, you already have a much higher chance of survival. Here are some things you need to do:

  • Control the exhale reflex by covering your current lips to prevent breathing in water. It’ll help to be able to cover your entire face with your hands.
  • Keep yourself noticeable by making sounds and waving the arms. While those onboard may spot you currently, it still helps for you to call out.
  • Raise your knees into a fetal position while wearing a PFD to keep your body temperature up
  • Remove heavy articles of clothing such as boots.
  • Create a good makeshift PFD from clothing or items in the exact area if you’re not really wearing a life jacket.
  • Stay in one area and wait for assist. Conserving energy should be your own personal top priority. Moving around to keep warm will deplete your body’s strength quickly.


A passenger on your boat falls crazy. What should you do first, and what should the skipper take into consideration to maintain those on the particular vessel safe? Now anyone have a better understanding of what to do inside such a situation.

Do you think you will be able to deal with falling overboard now? It’s not a pleasant thought to consider, but it is essential to prepare ourselves for the possibility. Tell us your thoughts in typically the comments section below.

Remember to motorboat safely.

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