APPROXIMATELY HALF of the 749 MOB fatalities reported in our “MOB Facts” sidebar occurred on boats with only
one person aboard; in 190 fatalities (about 25
percent), only two people were aboard. This
means that, many times, victims fall overboard from smaller boats – many while fishing alone or with one friend; they can’t get
back aboard their boats, and drown.
So, for small-boat operators, think about
how to set up your boat so that you can
effectively get back aboard yourself:
■ Use an engine cut-off switch, especially if
you’re operating the boat alone.
■ Make sure there’s a sturdy boarding ladder either permanently attached to the
boat, or where it can be reached from
over the side.
■ It can pay to simply secure a line to the
boat, tie a loop in the end (large enough
for your foot), and hang it over the side
so you can reach it from the water. With
the engine off, practice climbing aboard
using the loop.
■ On some boats, it may be possible to get
back aboard using the back of your motor
as a step. (Turn off the motor and remove
the key before experimenting.)
■ Wear a life jacket. — C.E.
of the boat to avoid floating over the victim.
If you have a Lifesling or other retrieving
line, slowly circle the victim, towing the line
behind the boat until it comes within the
victim’s reach (see illustration on page 64).
Then stop the boat and pull the victim in.
Get the victim aboard: The very best way
to get a victim back aboard is with a strong,
well-built ladder. If you don’t have a ladder or
a Lifesling with tackle, a recovery line looped
under the victim’s arms (see illustration) may
enable one or more people to pull him up
over a relatively high freeboard.
When trying to retrieve a victim and bring
him back aboard into a center console with
low freeboard, it may help to position the victim facing the boat with both arms reaching
upward. If the person aboard has the necessary strength, he should reach down and
grasp the victim’s wrists; the victim should
grab the rescuer’s wrists; and the rescuer
should lift the victim straight out of the water.
If you have a net or tarp, you may be able
to secure one side to your gunwale, carefully work the net/tarp under the victim, then
hold him in place until more help comes.
MOB testing has proven that if the victim
is helpless and unable to assist, it will be
provides a better grip
Have the MOB pass the line
under his arms and then
fold arms around chest.
If those aboard are strong enough,
this tactic may help get the victim
very difficult to get him back into the boat.
If you have a strong swimmer aboard, conditions are appropriate, and it’s safe to do so,
consider having that person (wearing a life
jacket) go in and help the victim get to and
climb up a strong ladder. But remember that