How to Handle a Passenger Falling from Your Boat

If a passenger goes overboard  on my boat, what should I do?

What is more enjoyable than taking your boat out in the summer sun, relaxing, and taking in the scenery? For all boat-owners, this is truly fun and pleasing. The quickest way to ruin the day is for one of your passengers to fall overboard. While you may uphold all safety precautions, accidents happen. The best manner to approach an overboard passenger is to remain calm, react rapidly, and follow these simple steps!

Safe & Quick Rescue

Falling overboard can be dangerous so it’s essential to know exactly what you can do to bring the person back aboard safely and quickly.

  • Alert the rest of your passengers by shouting, “Man overboard!” to aware them of the situation and assist
  • If available on your boats GPS system, press the ‘man overboard’ button
  • Turn off the boat
  • Keep the victim in sight
  • Throw a flotation device to the overboard passenger. If they are close enough, use a flotation device that is attached to the boat with a cord.
  • Safely take the boat back towards the passenger in the water (TIP: Going downwind is safest)
  • Once you reach the person, you should use a ladder or lifeline to help the person get back onto the boat.

NOTE: No one should jump in the water to single-handedly rescue the overboard passenger.
If a second person ends up in the water it should only be if the passenger in the water is injured and needs urgent aid. The person jumping in should wear a life jacket and be attached to a lifeline in this circumstance.

Passenger Tips

For an overboard passenger, as soon as he or she has fallen overboard, it is vital to keep calm. Additional tips for the overboard passenger include:

  • Stay visible to the boat. This can include whistling and splashing
  • Remain in place to conserve energy
  • Kick off heavy boots or jackets, and increase buoyancy by trapping air inside of your clothes
  • Stay warm by keeping your head above water and crossing your arms over your chest

As the boat-owner, you should ensure that each passenger knows the safety precautions. This includes showing where the life jackets, flotation devices, and recovery gear are kept and how to use them.

To ensure that you are properly protected for the future, be sure to visit DG&M Agency for all of your insurance needs. We are located in Rochester, NY but serve all of the surrounding areas!