Imagine it is a beautiful afternoon. The sun is shining; the water is calm. It’s the perfect day for a boat ride with friends.
You’re speeding along, enjoying yourselves, when suddenly a person falls overboard. Do you know what to do?
Develop a Man Overboard Plan
Like any emergency, it’s best to have a procedure in place before someone falls overboard. Make sure you have flotation gear on board and explain what to do if a passenger falls in.
Share these steps with everyone on board:
- Shout, “Man overboard,” to alert everyone; keep your eyes on the individual.
- If you can’t find the person in the water, turn off the boat to prevent injuring or killing the victim.
- Turn on the man-overboard button on your GPS if you have it. The MOB function will mark the location where the person fell in.
- Throw flotation devices to keep the person above water.
- Try to get the victim back on the boat, ideally via the swim platform or ladder.
- If the situation seems life-threatening, use your radio to call a mayday. You can cancel the call if you get the person safely back on board.
Be Prepared and Save Lives
Accidents are always a possibility even when the water is calm. Before you set sail, be sure you have flotation devices and an emergency plan. Make sure everyone on board knows the drill. You just might save a life.