A Course for Safe Boating
Accident Prevention and Rescue
People can fall overboard or leave their boat for a variety of reasons, but
most often because of heavy seas, not holding onto something solid when
moving on deck, or sitting on the gunwale or other dangerous location.
The operator should not overload the boat.
In a small boat, passengers should be careful and limit movement while the
boat is operating. If you must move, be sure to inform the captain of the
boat so he or she can get ready for the weight shift.
Passengers should not ride on the gunwales or the bow.
You may not be used to being on a moving platform, such as a boat on the
water. You should take time to get used to balancing and moving safely on a
boat that is in motion.
Even if the person overboard knows how to swim or the boat is anchored,
toss the victim a ring life preserver throwable flotation device, floating
cushion, or other floatable object with a line attached.
If the boat is under way, the operator should immediately slow the boat. You
should be careful maneuvering when someone is in the water. Avoid hitting
a person with the boat or propeller.
Whoever spots the person overboard should never take his eyes off of that
person, unless another crew member is assigned to watch the victim. Point
toward the victim to help guide the operator.
At night, direct the best possible light on the victim.
Warn approaching boats.
Approach the victim from downwind or into the current.
Judge the situation to see if you need to get help from somewhere else.
When trying to rescue the victim, put the engine into neutral and keep the
victim away from the stern of the boat. If there is no wind or current that
would require you to maneuver the boat, you can turn the engine off. Bring
the victim aboard over the stern while keeping the boat balanced. These
steps will prevent serious injury from the boat’s propeller.
If the victim has (or might have) a spinal injury, a person trained in life-
saving procedures may need to enter the water to help the victim. Keep the
injured person in the water until a trained rescuer arrives.
REFER TO CHAPTERS 3–4
PAGES 68, 71, 82, 85, 98