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D.Duck44 07-09-2018 02:49 PM

Helping someone out of the water.
Over the weekend, an elderly overweight non swimmer fell into the water at our marina. We managed to get him alongside an inflatable dinghy and hold him by his arms but there was no way we could pull him into the dinghy, not even a little bit. Eventually someone found a step ladder, and tied it to the side of the dock. We moved him over to that and he was able to climb out with assistance. I am wondering if we had taken the bung out of the dinghy and let it fill with water would it have made it easier to get him aboard? Anybody worked out a strategy to use with just two people in the dinghy and no other aids? Thanks, Richard

Rusty 07-09-2018 03:26 PM

We have this in our dinghy.

I admit to not having tried to get out of the water using it, though.

psneeld 07-09-2018 03:27 PM

use 2 ropes or tarp and parbuckle him in if there are 2 strong places to tie to the dingy adout 4 feet apart.

deblen 07-09-2018 04:49 PM

How to get into a dinghy …

Miz Trom 07-09-2018 05:14 PM


How to get into a dinghy
:) My personal experience &/or my personal opinion-feel free to ignore.

High Wire 07-09-2018 05:44 PM

If you can't get them in, get a rope around their chest to not lose them and call CG or 911. All the help you could possibly want in a few minutes.

wkearney99 07-09-2018 06:14 PM

No way I'd take a known floating boat and put it at risk of sinking by deliberately taking on water. That'd just risk multiplying one problem into many more. Loss of the boat, polluting the water, risks to anyone in the boat... your wallet, etc.

The challenge of getting them to the ladder involves risk of injury from the prop. Better to toss them a lifejacket or throwable and a line, tow them from a distance behind the boat, instead of risking them losing grip and sliding back into the prop.

alormaria 07-09-2018 06:19 PM

Wow! That video!

Brings to mind WWII B-17 pilots getting into their planes.

markpierce 07-09-2018 06:23 PM

At our marina (Vallejo Municipal), life rings on the docks are available, but no ladders, unfortunately. :banghead:

GFC 07-09-2018 06:34 PM

One of our 13' Whalers has a 2-step folding ladder at the transom. Even with that it's difficult because (a) the ladder doesn't go far down into the water and (b) there isn't a handhold close by to pull yourself in.

I've found a line tied around one of the seats helps for the handhold, but that just makes it a bit easier.

Solly 07-09-2018 06:49 PM


Originally Posted by deblen (Post 679718)

That is awesome !

Doug 07-09-2018 06:54 PM

Never tried this technique but it was recommended to me by a SAR expert
Many RIBs have oneway valves separating the air supply to the two sides. This allows you to partially deflate one side lowering it in the water thus making it easier to pull someone aboard.

rclarke246 07-09-2018 07:26 PM


Originally Posted by deblen (Post 679718)

Great video lesson! Thanks!

caltexflanc 07-09-2018 08:52 PM

We've been over this a few times here but EVERY boat should have a way to get back in it from in the water, that can be deployed when you are in the water. And you need to practice using it!

GFC: perhaps the ladder on our Whaler goes deeper than yours, but we have no issue using it, which we do frequently, and using the engine as a handhold. Mount a handle if that doesn't work for you.

menzies 07-09-2018 09:58 PM


Originally Posted by deblen (Post 679718)

OK, how many of us are going to try this at least once!

Benthic2 07-09-2018 10:22 PM


Originally Posted by GFC (Post 679768)
.... the ladder doesn't go far down into the water and (b) there isn't a handhold close by to pull yourself in.......

Can you put one foot on the "wing" of the outboard skeg ??

If not, you could take a 3 foot length or rope, thread it through a 1 foot piece of pvc pipe and put a carabiner on each end. Just clip that on the bottom rung before you dive in, and remove it after your re-board.

jleonard 07-10-2018 07:41 AM

This is timely.
Yesterday afternoon and elderly man fell into the water across the dock from me. He jumped from the 22 ft boat to the dock as the owner was just backing into the slip.
Luckily he fell into an empty slip and more luckily we had company on the boat. So between the 2 of us we pulled the swimmer back onto the dock.
If I were alone I don't think I could have gotten him up.
This morning I am going to the marina office and ask for ladders of some sort.

MV Wanderlust 07-10-2018 09:12 AM


Originally Posted by deblen (Post 679718)


mahal 07-10-2018 10:00 AM

I too had to save a large elderly man that fell in the water. It was a few months ago when I went to the boat on a weekday in the middle of the day when I heard someone yelling for help. I tried to pull him up and realized that wasn't working since he was too heavy. He suggested that I help him to his swim step that has a swim ladder so that's what we did. As I was helping him towards it, I never let go of his wrist. I felt that if I did and he lost his grip on the dock, he would sink since he was very tired and weak. While doing this, I was yelling for help. Another person came and I asked her to lower the swim ladder. We both helped him up the ladder and all was good.

If I were to do it again, I would grab the closest dock line, tie it to his body then to a cleat and call 911. I think that I took a chance moving him some 30 feet. I could've lost him.

He sold his boat after the incident. Sad.

BandB 07-10-2018 10:01 AM

I'd say first step to stabilize the situation, then get assistance. Often you have someone in the water and unable to help in their own recovery in any way. In a marina, many swim platforms have much better means of getting on them than do dinghies. Some even are hydraulic. Then there's always a boat davit or crane. I'm assuming you had warm water and that provides time. In cold water rescue, obviously much more time sensitive.

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