If you fall out of a boat it is easy to panic but hard to get back in, especially as you get older. There are some things we can all do to get back into a boat safely if we fall out. The most important thing is not to panic but to take actions that will allow you to safely get back into your boat.
Time Required: A Few Minutes
- Staying on top of the water is the most important thing if you fall out. Wear an automatically inflatable life vest or similar device to keep you afloat even if you are knocked out.
- Grab something on the boat as quickly as possible. Wind and current can move a boat away from you much faster than you can swim. Grab anything you can hold on to so you can stay with the boat.
- Work your way to the back of the boat. The new Triton boats have a built in boarding ladder that you can use to get in, or you can use the motor. In any case, the boat is lower and easier to get into at the back.
- You may be able to pull yourself into the boat if you are young and strong enough. Wet cloting can make this difficult even for those in good shape.
- Use the motor as a step to get you out of the water and into the boat. Your legs are stronger than your arms - use them. Be careful not to cut yourself on the prop.
- If your boat has a trim and tilt system with a switch on the side, as do most bass boat motors, you can step on the motor and trim it up, lifting you out of the water. This would really help if you are wearing lots of clothes or if you have gotten weak from cold water.
- Keep some dry clothes in the boat - at least shirt, sox and pants in cold weather. Don't forget your rainsuit - put it on over dry clothes to stay warmer, especially in colder weather.
- Don't fall out in the first place. This seems simple and you may never fall out, but be prepared if you do. I have been fishing out of bass boats for over 30 years and out of other boats for almost 50 years and never fell out of one - until last month. It was scary and it scared me. Be prepared.
- Always wear a kill switch so if you are thrown out of your boat the motor will stop running and not circle back and hit you.