What Is Most Likely To Cause Someone To Fall Overboard?

Water activities like boat riding and kayaking are incredible. If you have not tried such activities yet, you might have boarded a ship on certain occasions. A party on a cruise ship sounds even better. The fun becomes too much and makes people forget that there are risks that come with having fun onboard.

Falling overboard is not a new trend. If this is an accident that happens a lot, what is most likely to cause someone to fall overboard?

Falling overboard is an accident that can happen to anyone. It doesn’t matter whether you are riding on a boat, kayak, small ships, or cruise ship. If you don’t take the necessary safety measures, you can find yourself a victim.

Before getting on board, it is good to know how to handle different situations. It seems today is your lucky day. We have all the information you need to know about dealing with falling overboard situations.

What Is Most Likely To Cause Someone To Fall Overboard

What Is Most Likely To Cause Someone To Fall Overboard?

Ships are designed with rails for a purpose. The rails on the boat are made to prevent you from falling overboard. Can you imagine what it would be like if ships didn’t have rails? Well, I guess you have an overview of what would happen. There are still fall overboard accidents even with the rails. However, such accidents are caused by careless mistakes.

The length of most ships’ rails is about 40 inches. That’s enough to protect you from falling even if you trip. As if that’s not enough, the rails are well constructed and sturdy. This implies that they are safe even to lean on. Then, what is most likely to cause someone to fall overboard. It sounds confusing, right? Here are the reasons why most people fall overboard.

1. Standing Up

The highest percentage of people fall overboard due to standing. This happens especially if you are riding on a small boat or kayak. If you stand on a boat when it’s sailing, you can simply lose balance. You will sway side by side and end up falling overboard.

2. Suicide

Falls overboard can also be intentional. Although it’s rare, there are few chances that a person can intentionally fall overboard to commit suicide. Have you ever heard a situation where someone just jumps off a boat or a ship? Well, there is no other better word to explain that rather than suicide. Such cases mostly happen at night when no one can see the victim.

3. High Consumption Of Alcohol

Having some fun time on a cruise ship with your buddies is enjoyable. Most people love having a couple of alcoholic drinks at such events. Well, that’s not a problem, though. However, some people tend to overdrink. This is where people say that alcohol can impair one’s judgment. Some overdrunk people tend to act abnormally and even try doing crazy things. Someone may think about standing, sitting, or even climbing up the ship’s rails. You can tell what such situations lead to when done by a drunk person.

4. Being Thrown or Pushed Overboard

This sounds frightening. If you are riding with a person with bad intentions, this is most likely to happen. Someone can simply push or throw you overboard to kill you.

If someone falls overboard, it might be because of any of the above reasons. Some of these causes can be avoided while others cannot.

5. Potential Risks of Falls Overboard

There are a lot of risks likely to occur to someone who falls overboard. That’s why a higher percentage does not survive. The ones that survive may have complications later. If you are a victim or a person taking care of the victim, it’s good to know the risks that fall overboard can lead to.

1.Physical Harm

A person can get physical harm when he/she falls overboard, depending on the fall’s nature. If someone falls off from a ship or a boat with a higher deck, they are likely to experience physical harm. If the person falls off, if the height is larger, the person may fall in a bad position that may cause harm like twisting on the leg, hands, or any part of the body.

Regardless of the body position when falling, the impact of falling on water from a large height is hazardous. It is just the same as falling on the rocky ground. The surface of the water can hit you so hard, leaving physical damage on your body. With that, we can say that falling directly on the water surface from a height can lead to physical harm.

2.Effect Of The Chilly Water

One thing you should be sure of is that the water will be freezing. The fact that falling overboard is mostly not expected makes the effect extreme. If you have been into a swimming pool with cold water, you have an idea of what this entails.

Now imagine if someone pushes you into the swimming pool unexpectedly? It sounds rough, right? It’s like the cold is more than getting into the water yourself.

In that situation, the victim will be forced to let air outside his/her body. The cold makes the victim wheeze that can lead to water swallowing. Again, the shock that someone gets is enough to make him/her die. The chilly water makes someone numb. This makes it hard for you as a victim to swim perfectly. This implies that the victim will end up drowning.


If you fall overboard on the water that’s not extremely cold, then you are on the safe side. However, very cold water will not favor you at all. The cold water will lower your body temperature. Extremely low body temperature is the hypothermia condition.

In this case, the temperature will be dropping more. This means that the body will not be absorbing more heat. The victim will suffer from shivering, rigid joints, impaired speech, and other symptoms.

4.Risk Of Aquatic Animals

It is very rare that if someone falls overboard will face aquatic animals like sharks. However, you will most likely meet sharks in warm waters. This will not be a big risk if the victim does not offend the shark. They do not attack unless you provoke them.

The risk will be if you get injured in the process and have blood on your body. Sharks easily detect blood and attack anything from where the blood trace is coming from.

Falls Overboard Prevention

Some of the reasons that make someone fall overboard can be prevented. The truth is that most of them are preventable. Therefore, if there is something you can do to ensure that you are safe when onboard or overboard, just do it. The main falls overboard prevention technique is being careful. As much as it seems harmless and cool in waters, there are a lot of dangers.

Whether you are a passenger or the captain, ensure that all safety measures are put in place before heading to the waters. If you have never been on board, ensure you gather all information about the do’s and don’ts. Well, that’s why we are here. To tell you what you should do and what not to do to ensure that the chances of falling overboard are minimal. Let’s get to the prevention measure that should be put in place.

  • Everyone on board should have a life jacket.
  • Avoid sitting on rails if you are a passenger.
  • Ensure that your boat has a safety switch in case of any emergency
  • The boat should always carry what it can handle. Avoid overloading.
  • The gear and the passengers should be perfectly positioned on the boat to ensure a proper balance.
  • The passengers should remain seated when the ship or boat is in motion.
  • Avoid going into the waters in rough weather conditions.
  • Avoid high alcohol consumption if you can’t handle it.
  • Make smooth and slow boat turns.

What to Do In a Fall Overboard Situation

If all the prevention techniques fail, you have no option rather than dealing with the situation. There is always something you can do, whether you are a person overboard or the one rescuing. Since everyone is a key player in the survival of the person overboard, you need to know what to do in whatever situation you are in.

What to Do As the Victim Overboard

If you are the victim, just stay calm to prevent unnecessary shock that can lead to death. You should allow optimism to control you when overboard. Instead of swimming, just relax and try floating on the water. For a victim with a life jacket. It will be easier for you.

That’s why you should always have a life jacket on when riding in a boat. The reason why you should not swim is so that you can conserve that energy. Avoid breathing out the air in excess.

Another technique is by simply holding some breathe and immerse your face in the water. In that position, your body will simply float on the water. Once you are almost out of breath, put your face up to hold some more breathe by simply exhaling and then inhaling some more. Doing this several times in a relaxed manner will help you stay calm until someone comes to rescue you. Keeping calm is the secret behind falls overboard survival.

Trust if you relax and avoid tension, you can survive overboard for up to 29 hours. Well, this is something that has happened in reality to a boat an in the Indian Ocean. Isn’t that enough guarantee that when you stay calm you will survive.

What Should You Always Do When a Person Falls Overboard?

The victim relies entirely on the rescuer to tell him/her what to do. Well, it is enough to say that the life of the victim is in the rescuer’s hands. If you are a rescuer, what should you always do when a person falls overboard? The faster you act, the higher the chances that the victim will survive. Be sure not to panic because it will raise the tension to the victim.

Step 1

Argue the victim to keep calm and ensure that your eyes stay on the victim to know the sporty he/she is at all times. Determine the position in which the person overboard is. In that way, you will know the best way to instruct the person regarding floatation.

If you are in a large water body, the waves make the overboard person shift in different locations. That why it is always good to put your eyes on the victim every second of the rescue process.

Step 2

The rescue process can be hard at night. If the victim does not have anything bright on, it will be difficult to trace their location. In that case, you have to employ some tactics to track the victim. Once you spot the person’s location, simply bring down some rope with a ring for them.

You can bring down the rope with bright clothing and floatation equipment for easy spotting and helping the victim float on water.

Step 3

With a ring to hold onto, the victim can wait for the rescue. At this time, you can call for backup if you are alone. You can either call for professional rescuers. If the victim is far from your current location, simply head to his/her location for rescue. It’s never that difficult.

As a rescuer, you should also stay calm. This is the only way that will make you face the situation perfectly. The victim will also have hopes for survival if you are calm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will someone survive if he/she falls overboard?

The risk of falling overboard is very intense. The chances that someone will survive are very low. With the physical, emotional, and health risks exposed to the victim, it is hard for them to survive. However, if the fall is a minor one, the victim can be rescued and survive.

Q: Can I Swim When I Fall Overboard?

You need to conserve energy. Therefore avoid swimming. If you can, just try relaxing and floating until someone comes to rescue you. However, if it’s at night and you were all alone in a boat, you can swim a little to reach a possible rescuer.

Q: Can the person overboard Handle The Temperature Of The Water?

This depends on how cold the water is. Some oceans and other water bodies are very cold. This makes the victim’s temperature lower automatically. For water bodies with water that’s not too cold, the victim can handle for a few hours.


If you were wondering what is most likely to cause someone to fall overboard, at least now you know. Therefore, anytime you are on a board or a ship, you will know the risks associated with that. Again, you can easily prevent the dangers from happening.

If the dangers happen, then you know how to deal with that situation. Prevent falling overboard if you can, and deal with it wisely if it happens.

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