Chapter 4: Emergency Preparation

Emergency Response to Falling Overboard

What if one falls overboard after the boat capsizes or what if one is a passenger on another vessel and a sharp turn makes one lose footing? Here are some tips to remember which can help keep one safe. During all of these steps, remember that the goal is to get out of the water as quickly and safely as possible.

  • Stay Calm. This conserves energy and allows time to think rationally.
  • Locate everyone and take a headcount to make sure everyone is accounted for if others fell overboard with you.
  • In a swift river, position feet downstream for safety.
  • Re-board the boat, if possible. If not, try and stay as close to the boat as possible unless it is moving toward a hazard. Since small boats tend to float even after capsizing one can cling to the boat to stay afloat. This conserves energy and makes it easier for other boaters to spot you.
  • Signal for help from passing vessels by waving one's arms or calling out. Staying near the vessel makes it much easier to spot you.
Emergency Response to Falling Overboard

Falls overboard can happen quickly and unexpectedly. If a lifejacket is worn at all times, one will be in a better position falling into the water. A lifejacket will help keep one warm and afloat, letting one conserve precious energy.