Utah State Parks Blog

How To: Rescue Someone From Water

Deer Creek State Park

Picture this: You’re enjoying a great day out on the water with friends and family. Suddenly, the unthinkable happens, one of your loved ones falls into the water and starts to struggle. What do you do?

Thankfully, the Utah State Parks Boating Program wants to help you prepare for just this kind of situation. Did you do not need to be a great swimmer to save others? In fact, non-swimmers who know what to do can save a life!

What do I do? 

If you are standing on a dock when someone falls in and begins to struggle, try to “talk” the victim to safety.

If the victim is unable to self-rescue, you should:

REACH– extend a fishing rod, branch, oar, pole, shirt, towel, or any other object to reach out to the victim and pull them to safety. If nothing is available and the victim is within arm’s reach, the rescuer should lie flat and grab the victim’s hand or wrist and pull them to safety.

THROW- If the victim is too far away to reach, and a boat isn’t handy, throw the victim a floatation device, life jacket, or anything else that will float.

ROW– If a non-powerboat is convenient, row to the victim, then use an oar or paddle to guide them to the stern. Let the victim remain in the water while holding to the stern as you paddle to shore. If the victim is too weak to hold on, hold them until more help arrives.

GO- Swimmers without lifesaving training should not swim to a victim. Never place yourself in the same danger. Instead, go for help. If you must swim to a victim, take along anything that floats to keep between you and the victim.

The different types of life jackets | BoatUS Foundation

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