Boating Basics Online - Basic Boating Safety Course
Chapter 8 - Accidents and Emergencies

Assistance From Shore

Every year people drown within a short distance of the shore. When some trauma happens, such as stepping off an underwater shelf, the surprise itself can cause a drowning response. Victims, even if they can swim, suddenly cannot shout for help and just splash around in the water. Exhaustion can occur in a minute or less, and the person then quits splashing and sinks. Should you find someone needing assistance from shore, remember the following.

REACH out your hand, a pole, belt, line, boat hook or anything that can be held onto. If this doesn’t work…

THROW anything that floats and that the victim can hold onto - a life ring, PFD, beach ball, cooler, etc. If they are too far away and can’t reach the floating object…

ROW out to the victim if a boat is near, taking anything that floats with you. As you approach, take an oar and reach out so the person can hold onto something and pull themselves to the boat. If none of the above things are possible…

GO for help. Do not try to make a rescue by swimming to the victim unless you are a certified life guard.

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