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Chapter 4: Emergency Preparation

Retrieving an Overboard Passenger

Even if taking all the appropriate safety measures, accidents can still happen. In the event of a fall overboard begins by slowing down and stopping the boat. Throw something buoyant into the water, like a life jacket or a type IV flotation device. Not only will this give the overboard passenger something to cling to, it will also mark their location, should one lose track or if they go under.

Retrieving an Overboard Passenger

It is vital that someone keep an eye on the overboard person at all times if possible. That person should point and make others aware of their position so one never loses track of them.

Then, carefully maneuver the boat closer to the overboard person. One should approach them from the operator's side so one can see them better and avoid a collision.

Finally, toss a heaving line to the person overboard. One can also use a life buoy that has been attached to the boat.  Use the line or buoy to pull the overboard person closer to the boat and have them climb on board using the boat's boarding ladder, or an improvised rope or chain draped across the stern and use as a step. Remember, in most cases, an overboard person will climb up into the boat from the stern. Turn off the engine to avoid endangering the person any further.