What to do if you fall overboard

| Nov 6, 2020 | Maritime Law

There’s little more enjoyable than spending the day on the water. However, your good time can turn into extreme fear if you find yourself in the water against your will.

Despite the fact that you take steps to protect against falling overboard, you never know what could happen. And for that reason, you must prepare accordingly.

Here are some steps to take if you fall overboard:

  • Stay calm: The more you panic, the more difficult it is to get your bearings and find your way back to the boat. Stay calm and quickly make a decision on the best plan of action.
  • Call for help: Even if someone saw you fall overboard, be sure to call for help so that they know you need it. You don’t want them to think that you’re okay and you’ll simply swim back to the boat.
  • Stay afloat: If you have a life jacket on, you can rely on it to keep you afloat until you reach safety. However, if you don’t have a life jacket to assist you, tread water or grab onto something that’s floating on the surface (if available).
  • Swim to safety: If for any reason you’re unable to make it back to the boat, perhaps because it sped away without knowing you fell, consider the best direction to swim. For example, if you’re confident you can swim to another boat or the shoreline, carefully do so.

Once you reach safety, it’s important that you take the steps necessary to assess your health and determine if you require medical care. For example, if you took on water while you were trying to reach safety, you’ll want to seek immediate medical attention out of an abundance of caution.

If you were injured on recreational boat, regardless of the reason, it’s also a good idea to learn more about your legal rights. This starts with gathering details related to the accident, as this helps you better understand the cause and how to best proceed.

A boating accident is serious business. While your health is top priority, protecting your legal rights isn’t far behind.