What Is Most Likely to Cause Someone to Fall Overboard?

Last Updated on January 12, 2022

Boating is fun, but it has its fair share of risks. One of these risks is falling overboard, and it’s not rare. An accident like this can cause serious injuries, and in many cases result in death. However, by ensuring some safety precautions, you can significantly minimize the risk. But what is most likely to cause someone to fall overboard? You’ll find out.

How Does It Happen?

On smaller boats, the cause of this accident is just standing up on a fast-moving boat. You may fall overboard if you are not standing steady when the boat is navigating rough waters. And if it is a large family boat, the accident can be the result of being reckless.

You may also fall overboard if you try to do anything while standing too close to the edge. The accident can happen when you are trying to perform dangerous stunts on the boat. People who are intoxicated are also likely to fall overboard.

What Are the Potential Risks When Someone Fall Overboard?

We have already clarified what is most likely to cause someone to fall overboard. But what happens when someone falls overboard? Falling overboard is as awful as it sounds. Many things can go wrong when an accident happens. Here are some potential outcomes:

The plunge

Falling from a large boat can be more dangerous because the distance between the decks and the surface of the sea is around ten feet. The level of danger depends on the position in which the person falls into the water.

Depending on the position, falling on the water can be as painful as falling on hard ground. This is the reason why divers dive so carefully, in a pencil-like fashion.

If a person falls in a bad position, he or she can endure severe injuries such as broken bones.

Drowning in cold water

During the winter, water in the sea can be shockingly cold, and this shock itself can kill someone instantly. A person drowning in cold water may accidentally swallow water when struggling to breathe. Swimming in cold water is extremely hard in part because the limbs get numb. And that can result in drowning.


What is most likely to cause someone to fall overboard? Now we know that standing on the boat when it is in motion is the most likely cause. But how likely is a person to survive after falling into water? To a great extent, it depends on the temperature of the water.

If you fall into freezing water, the aftermath will be a quick death due to hypothermia. It is a condition characterized by a dangerously low body temperature. Rigid joints, garbled speech, loss of dexterity, intense shivering, and slow pulse are some symptoms of hypothermia.

Water animals

Water animals such as sharks usually do not attack unless they are scared or harassed. The problem is, sharks become easily agitated. And if you bleed in the water, you are in real danger. Sharks can detect blood from a few meters away. With that said, sharks do not live in frigid cold water; they live only in warm waters.

How to Prevent Falling Overboard

As we understand what is most likely to cause someone to fall overboard, we should also discuss a few ways to prevent an accident from happening.

Being careful is the best way to prevent falling overboard. When you are standing, hold the boat with one hand. If not necessary, do not get close to the edge.

As long as you are inside the cabin, stunts are okay. But be very careful when you are on the deck. Accidents can happen when you get close to the edge in order to get the perfect selfie.

Avoid getting close to the edge of the boat when you are drunk. Lying inside the cabin is the best thing when you feel intoxicated.

If the weather is foul, stay inside the cabin. The deck will get slippery and the boat will tilt, and that can lead to an accident.

Make sure you have some safety gear and take some safety precautions. When the deck gets slippery, a pair of non-slip shoes will keep you steady.

Wear a life jacket. If you fall overboard, the jacket will save you from drowning.

And above all, drink responsibly. There is a greater risk of falling overboard when you are intoxicated.

Things to Do If Someone Falls Overboard

If someone falls overboard, the best way to save the person is to throw a life jacket or life ring. The jacket will keep the person afloat, and the onboard passengers will easily spot the person due to its bright colors.

Slow down the boat once you have tossed a life ring. Turn around, but not too quickly. If you turn too quickly, you may end up hitting the person. Then stop the engine and allow the overboard person to get close to the boat.

To pull the person on board, use a rope or reaching the pole. If it is a large boat, the victim can use the boat’s ladder to climb onboard.

What to Do If You Fall Overboard?

If you fall overboard, don’t try to swim. Rather, just float on the water. Conserve your energy until someone comes to rescue you. Just keep your head above water and lie flat on your back.

Floating facedown is another option. However, breathing will be a little less convenient in this position. If you do not lose your mind, you will be able to survive for a day.

What Is Most Likely to Cause Someone to Fall Overboard? – Final Thoughts

In most cases, standing up is the main reason why someone falls overboard. And there are a host of reasons why a person may stand up in a boat in motion. Intoxication and reckless behavior can also result in a disaster. You can be prepared for the worst only if you know what is most likely to cause someone to fall overboard and what to expect after the accident.