One of the worst and most dangerous situations in boating is a man overboard. People are at significant risk when falling over the side of a boat and into the water. During the winter months in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, the severity is intensified because of the ice-cold water temperatures in salt or freshwater. The best method to ensure safety is to prevent man overboard situations entirely. Here is how to reduce or eliminate the risk of people falling into the water from a watercraft. 

What Are Boaters At Risk Of When Falling Overboard

Make all efforts to avoid falling into the water when boating, whether the driver or passengers. Those who fall overboard are at risk of severe injury or death.

Becoming Struck In The Head Or Other Body Part

When falling overboard, people are at risk of striking their heads in the process. Head strikes lead to unconsciousness or severe bleeding, both of which put the person at significant harm.

In addition to head strikes, moving vessels contact other parts of the body, causing deep lacerations and trauma from impact. 


During the winter months, the temperatures of fresh and salt bodies of water in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina fall to dangerous levels.

A person who ends up in the water becomes at risk of developing hypothermia. Retrieve the victim from the water as swiftly as possible. 

Runaway Boat

One of the scariest situations is a runaway boat. A runaway boat is a watercraft that continues forward after the operator has fallen overboard. 

To avoid the situation of a runaway boat, clip the engine kill lanyard to your body. When pulled, the motor of the boat shuts down. 


All of the above situations put boaters at risk of drowning. To reduce the chances of drowning from an accidental fall overboard, wear a life jacket at all times. 

Stay Towards The Center Of The Boat

To help reduce the risk of becoming a man overboard victim, remain in the center of the boat during operation. 

The operator must direct passengers to remain centered. This is especially true with the onset of rough seas and wet decks increasing the likelihood of slipping and falling into the water. 

Do Not Ride On The Bow

We see it all too often, adults and especially children sitting perched on the bow of fast-moving watercraft. 

Not only do people sit on the gunnel of a bow when operating, but they dangle their feet over the front. Move back from the most forward portion of the boat and utilize the space designed for seating in the bow. 

Apply Non-Skid To Decks

While the new boat construction incorporates nonslip components on decks, the surfaces wear over time. 

When a non-skid surface becomes slippery due to losing its textured surface, it is time for a recoating. Take the boat to a marine paint shop and have the non-skid deck reapplied. 

Where Slip Resistant Shoes

Slips and falls are common when boating because of wet decks resulting in slippery surfaces. 

Wear soft sole shoes to reduce the likelihood of slipping and falling inside or outside of the vessel. 

When it comes to preventing slips and falls by wearing quality shoes, we recommend Columbia. 

Best Columbia Boat Shoes For Men

The Columbia Men’s Slack Tide Slip PFG Boat Shoe boats comfort, style, and a non slip outsole to prevent falling. 

Best Columbia Boat Shoes For Women 

The Columbia Dorado PFG Boat Shoe comes in multiple color options, maximizes grip on wet decks, and is built durable. 

Avoid Boating In Rough Wave Conditions

Avoiding putting yourself and your passengers at risk is the most effective method to preventing man overboard situations.

Before heading out on the water, review the weather conditions and marine forecast. Don’t leave the dock when the weather calls for high winds and seas or a small craft advisory

Leave the boat on the trailer or tied up to the dock when the weather is not conducive to safe operation. Better days are on the horizon so wait it out until conditions improve to maximize safety for everyone. 

Avoidance Is Key To Preventing The Risk Of A Man Overboard Situation

Don’t be oblivious that boaters are at risk of falling overboard. Consider how the dangerous situation is prevented. Take the necessary measures to avoid you or your passengers from being injured or killed due to a man overboard. Search and rescue units are dispatched yearly to locate missing boaters due to falling overboard. Avoid becoming the victim.