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How to Rescue a Capsized Boater

Would you know how to save people from a capsized boat and bring them safely aboard your own vessel? You will now!


  • Step 1: Call or radio the police or Coast Guard before you do anything else.
  • Step 2: Approach the capsized boat with caution. Whatever overturned them could be a danger to you, too.
  • Step 3: Position your boat so that the bow is pointing into the current and the wind when you idle it to help the victims. If the wind is blowing at your back, you'll have a difficult time keeping it still enough to help anyone out of the water.
  • Step 4: When you are near them, put the engine in neutral so the propellers don't present a danger.
  • Step 5: If the victims are conscious, tie a rope at the middle and stern of your boat, and throw it into the water so it forms a shallow U-shaped loop. The victims will be able to grab hold of it and use it as a step to hoist themselves into the boat.
  • TIP: Resist the urge to get into the water yourself to help, or you may become another victim.
  • Step 6: If the victims are unconscious, position your boat so they're at the stern with their backs to the boat. Grab them by the wrists and bob them up and down; use the momentum of the third bob to pull them into the boat.
  • Step 7: Elevate their legs and cover them with blankets in case they're in shock.
  • Step 8: Stay with them until help arrives.
  • FACT: Poon Lim, a Chinese crewmember of a British ship, survived for 133 days adrift at sea from 1942 to 1943.

You Will Need

  • A phone or radio
  • Caution
  • A rope
  • Blankets

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