RESCUING A CONSCIOUS CASUALTY FROM OPEN WATER – Part 5

Watercraft Rescue

A Watercraft based, non-contact, indirect-contact or direct-contact rescue.

This requires a rescuer to enter, or go onto the water with a watercraft, and either reach into or enter the contact zone by boat, surfboard, paddleboard, motorboat etc.

Suitable Casualty & Environmental Characteristics

A Panicking, non-panicking or unconscious casualty, unable to be rescued by a safer rescue method or deep and calm enough water for the watercraft to operate.

  • Shout for assistance yourself as there may be someone in the area that can help
  • Talk/shout to casualty and let them know what you are going to do, telling them to calm down
  • Wear a PFD or take a buoyant aid for personal use
  • (if possible)
  • Stay in or within the watercraft
  • Consider when the rescue attempt is too dangerous (and consider other options)
  • Position the watercraft downwind or down current and to the side of the casualty (consider switching off the engine of motorised watercraft at this stage)
  • The casualty can either be rescued into/onto the watercraft or be instructed to hold onto the watercraft in a safe position.
  • Take the casualty to the nearest point of safety
  • Communicate with any other helpers as you approach the water’s edge
  • Continually reassess your personal safety, exit route, and the casualty until the rescue is completed
  • Call an ambulance 999/112 if required

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