If you fall in the water…

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Here are a couple of things to think about if you fall in the water…

You may find yourself overboard. While clearly you might like to stay in the boat, that doesn’t always happen. The folks in the boat will do well to remember RETHROG. Reach-Throw-Row-Go as the preferred order of retrieval. The boatman will direct rescue from their boat; do what they say.

To be pulled into the boat, expect to be grabbed by the shoulder straps of your PFD. The person in the boat falls backward in the boat and pulls you in. The swimmer needs to help by kicking with their feet and grabbing a fixed line once in the boat.

If you are overboard, keep feet downstream and stay upstream of any boats. Stay with the boat if possible, and do not get between the boat and rocks.

If you get stuck in a hole, swim to the side (not downstream), or try going down (diving) to get washed out, but stay in your PFD.

In the rare chance that you wash up on a rock in the river, get up on the rock if possible or wash downstream.

If you reach shore, make sure others in your trip know where you are.

If you swim to shore, do not stand in the water. Get all the way onto dry land. Getting all the way on shore lets rescuers go after other swimmers or equipment.

Look around you. The nearest boat may not be the one you fell out of but may be in a better position to rescue you.

Click here to return to the River Safety page.