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What to Do in a Man Overboard Situation


Accidents will eventually happen, so you should do anything you can to prevent them and be ready to act when necessary. One of this situations is when you or one of your crewmembers fall into the water. Here we will teach you how to prevent falling and what to do in the event someone falls into the water.

Prevent: Make sure that everyone aboard is wearing life jackets, specially when the boat is moving. Similarly, don’t allow anyone to sit on the edges of the boat or on any area not designated for seating. Finally, do not allow people to stand up or move on the deck while the boat is moving, especially at high speeds.

What to do: As soon as a person falls into the water, whoever notices it should yell “man overboard!” as loudly as possible to warn the rest of the crew. Turn the board “in” towards the victim to keep the propellers away -these can be really dangerous!. Have someone constantly point at the person in the water so you don’t lose sign of him or her. Alternatively, most GPS come with a M.O.B (Man Over Board) button that will mark the place where the person fell. In most conditions, it is safer to bring the person to the boat than doing the opposite. Throw a lifesaver or flotation device with a line attached to it, so the person can hold onto it while you reel him in. Once the person is close to the boat, turn off the engine and the propellers. Consider buying an emergency boarding ladder. They are inexpensive, do not take much space and will make getting back on board easier.

Make sure that everyone on board knows this procedure. You can practice it using a pot or a bottle, or anything that floats. Remember to be prepared at all times and to know what to do during emergencies.


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