What Should You Do When Someone Falls Overboard?

What Should You Do When Someone Falls Overboard? 

What Should You Do When Someone Falls Overboard? 

When someone goes overboard, your first duty is to inform everyone. You should shout  “Man Overboard,” this makes it so everyone on board is aware of your emergency. Boats in the area may also be informed.

If the person who fell overboard knows you have seen them, it may also assist in calming them down. If you don’t know the victim is already wearing a life jacket or PFD, slow down and throw one to them.

Rescue Strategies for Men Overboard

It’s alarming, to say the least, when someone unexpectedly falls overboard. The good news is that there’s a fair possibility you can bring your passenger back into the ship alive and well if someone notices the accident and everyone cooperates.

As soon as the captain learns of the disaster, he should be in charge of organizing and leading the rescue operation.

Reach, Throw, Row, and Go

If you notice a person overboard, immediately begin to reach, throw, row, and go to get the person back on the boat. This four-step method will ensure that you reach the person without losing your own life. While the person is still within 10 feet of shore, you must always be careful not to approach them. Instead, try to throw something floatable that the person can grab.

If you are a family boater, you may want to create a family drill that teaches everyone the proper MOB technique. Practicing the steps will not only help you remember them, but they’ll also reinforce the steps in case of an emergency. If you have new passengers on board, review the steps now and then. You should also conduct a drill every time you take on new passengers.

You can row to the drowned person if the boat has a rowboat. Make sure to have extra oars and a hoist rope. If the boat doesn’t have a life preserver, you should give the person a rope and tow them to shore. Never attempt to swim to the drowned person if you are not a lifeguard! It could capsize the boat!

Avoid entering the water to retrieve a person

First, avoid entering the water to retrieve the person who has fallen overboard if possible. It is possible to drag them underwater, which could lead to further injury. Always use a life jacket or buoyant object to guide yourself back. When in doubt, shout at them and keep them close to the boat. A person pointing the man overboard should never leave their vision.

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In a rough inlet, you should position yourself in such a way that you can protect the victim and initiate visual warning signals. Then, if a rescue boat responds to the distress call, the victim may remain overboard for some time until help arrives. While waiting, stay calm and remain away from the edges of the upper decks of the boat. It may mean the difference between death and life.

Toss something into the water

It is easy to panic if someone falls overboard. It can happen at any time of day or night. But you can take a few steps to ensure your loved ones do not end up in the water. One of the essential things a person can do is toss something into the water when a person falls overboard. A floating object will serve as a benchmark for search efforts and will also serve as a guide for rescuers.

A life jacket can help keep a victim afloat, but toss something buoyant into the water to make it easier to reach the stricken person. Not only will this be a visual reference for rescuers, but it will calm the person in the water. It will also act as a contact point in case of loss of sight and can give the direction of the drift.


Shout “MAN OVERBOARD!” as soon as you notice someone overboard. Make sure to remain in front of the person and to shout repeatedly until other boaters are alerted to the problem. Then, turn off the boat and enable the MOB GPS button to track the person. If you can’t find them, you can yell “MAN OVERBOARD!” and try to track the boat.

What Should You Do When Someone Falls Overboard? 

Shout “MAN OVERBOARD!” – This is a potentially dangerous situation because the person in the water may not have life jackets or other safety equipment, so the shout should be loud and clear. The other crew members should immediately begin throwing anything that floats toward the person. Life ring, Dan buoy, cushions, and life jackets are all appropriate items to throw. Once the passenger overboard is identified, they should be retrieved by another boater.

Position your boat to keep a person afloat

To position your boat to keep a person adrift in the event of an overboard fall, the bow should be in the downwind position of the victim. This will keep the victim in view and keep the boat’s stern and propeller away from the person’s body. Make sure to position a type IV throwable flotation device close to the helm so you can maneuver it as necessary to pull the person back aboard the boat.

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The boat should approach him slowly and cautiously if the overboard person is wearing loose, water-proof clothing. If the overboard person is unconscious or weak, mechanical assistance can be used to help get him back onto the boat. For this purpose, the boat should be at a steady, upwind position. Using a drogue will help recover the overboard person.

To reach the person overboard, approach him from the operator’s side. If the person is wearing a life jacket, it may be a good idea to turn off the engine. Alternatively, you may have a line or life sling that you can throw overboard to help the person regain their feet. Once you’re close, you should stop the engine and position the boat to keep the person afloat.

Plan a rescue

You can take several methods and actions to ensure a successful rescue. First, you need to assign roles to help keep the victim within sight. You can also deploy a MOB or man overboard buoy to guide rescuers back to the victim. In addition to using a MOB, you can throw a smoke flare or LED light close to the person to provide reference points. Throwing a line may also be helpful to help in the recovery of the victim.

What Should You Do When Someone Falls Overboard? 

After determining the MOB’s location, you can deploy your crew to begin the rescue. One person should keep an eye on the victim, and another should call for help. Keeping a visual crew member can direct the boat to the victim and raise the alert if they see their condition deteriorating. Another person can take a head count to confirm that only one person has fallen overboard so they don’t risk endangering themselves or the victim.

If you’re on a boat, ensure everyone knows how to use the mayday button. In an emergency, you should call out “mayday” three times on VHF 16 or the closest shore station. Make sure you give a description of the person and describe the boat if possible. When the person is rescued, additional crew members should join the effort to keep a visual of the person. They should position themselves to pull the victim out of the water.

If you’re the one who falls overboard

Going overboard is terrifying because it occurs so rapidly. You are having a day at sea for one second. Then you’re thrown into choppy or even icy waters with a danger of dying. The man’s only responsibility is to maintain his life and keep his head above water. There is no more straightforward way to put it. It was unsuccessful if the crew dragged a corpse onto the deck during the rescue operation. You can do a few things to aid you in your attempt to survive if you are the man overboard.

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Cover your whole face and mouth with both hands if you feel you’re going too far to prevent cold shock. You must swim or float if you are not wearing a personal flotation device. The ideal flotation position is a flat back with your head above the water. Let your legs float in a stretched stance, arching your back and extending your arms to the side. This float will assist you with energy conservation. This method or technique is called H.E.L.P, which stands for Heat Escape Lessoning Position.

The dead man’s float, also known as the survival float, is a different technique that can help you conserve energy. How to apply this technique is as follows:

  • Put your face in the water after taking a deep inhale.
  • The only part of your body that is above the surface is the back of your head, so relax the rest of it and let it hang.
  • When you need to breathe, lift your head and exhale while barely moving your arms and legs to maintain balance.
  • Repeat after taking a deep breath.

You should be able to stay afloat if you have a powerful swimming stroke. However, it consumes more energy, so only use this technique if you’re confident you’ll be saved quickly and feel strong enough.

Use vertical scissor kicks while moving your arms back and forth and keeping your head above the water. Sit back, relax, and save your energy if you’re wearing a PFD. Pulling your legs up to your chest in chilly water will help you keep warm.

What should you do if you Fall Overboard in Cold Water

  • Don’t jump in after them! The first thing you should do is raise the alarm by calling for help or alerting a nearby crew member. You don’t want two people drowning instead of one!
  • Turn off any nearby electrical equipment that may be emitting sparks (e.g. radio, engine) so that nobody else gets hurt.
  • Once you’re certain that nobody is in danger of being hurt by the equipment, it’s safe to go after the person who fell overboard. Jumping in after them may create more problems than it solves if you don’t know how to swim properly or aren’t a good enough swimmer, so it’s best to wait for the correct safety equipment and crew members first.
  • Once someone is safely retrieved from the water, try to warm them up and keep them as close to consciousness as possible. If someone has gone overboard from a cold climate, hypothermia could occur so an immediate medical assessment is necessary.