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Man Overboard! How to Follow Proper Procedure When Waters Get Rough

Summer in the Rogue Valley is an ideal time to boat on the wide variety of lakes in the Rogue Valley – or even the mighty Rogue River itself. Whether you’re boating for pleasure, sport, fishing, or official business, however, keeping safety precautions in mind is crucial, particularly during the busy summer season when boating mishaps are more common. If the worst occurs and one of your passengers falls overboard, take these critical steps:

  1. Alert immediately. If you’re participating in water sports, you should have a spotter designated to watch for falls from tubes, skis, and the like. If someone falls overboard from within your boat, shout “man overboard” immediately to alert the driver and all other passengers. If you have a GPS onboard, either press the “man overboard” button or record your GPS location.
  2. Keep eyes on the overboard victim. Whether the person has fallen from a water sports device or the interior of the boat, designate one person to keep eyes on the victim at all times. Meanwhile, turn the boat 180 degrees to return to the victim.
  3. Approach the victim. Be sure to approach the victim from a downwind or down current position to prevent your boat from drifting into them. Keep the boat in a low gear and travel slowly, making sure not to cut too close.
  4. Recover the victim. Once you get close enough, shift the boat out of gear and toss the victim a flotation device even if they are already wearing a life jacket. Ideally, the flotation device will have an attached rope which you can use to pull them in. At this time, if your boat does not have a ladder, attach the boarding device so the victim can safely climb back into the boat.
  5. Only enter the water if necessary. If the victim is a child unable to get back into the boat or injured and unable to climb in, first ensure the rescuer is wearing a life jacket. Then, reach in and lift the victim from underneath the arms to safely pull them back into the boat. If a rescuer must enter the water to retrieve the victim, tether them to the boat to ensure you aren’t creating another victim.

After rescue is completed, ensure the victim gets dry and warm and assess them for any injuries. If necessary, call for medical assistance to meet you at your GPS location or on-shore. It is our sincere hope that all of our Rogue Jet Boat customers stay safe during the summer boating season; for more information about safety equipment or our custom aluminum jet boats, contact us today