Bruce Brown: How to Stay Safe on a Boat

Bruce Brown points to a graph showing boating accidents. Photo: Mike Ferring

At the March AYC monthly meeting, Bruce Brown points to a graph showing boating accidents. Photo: Mike Ferring

The most important thing you can do to stay safe on a boat is: stay on the boat. Once you’re in the water, recovery is difficult, especially with today’s fast boats that leave a crew overboard far behind in short order.

Safety expert Bruce Brown offered a string of tips to the March monthly meeting, including the use of jacklines and safety harnesses, PFDs, and recovery techniques.

Bruce presented six challenges to rescues and offered 8 strategies to make them successful. In the ocean, crew recovery is considerably more complicated than in our generally calm lakes. Spotting a crew member (or even being aware someone’s gone overboard) is one of the biggest challenges. Quickly marking approximate location by GPS and keeping a spotter with eyes on the person are critical—and the person in the water can help by waving and pulling on a brightly-colored hood.

It’s also important to practice, practice, practice. Learn to bring the boat to a quick stop and then return quickly. When the water’s cold, the crew overboard can lose dexterity quickly, then have trouble thinking clearly, and then face hypothermia.

Here are two other documents Bruce left with us: