Beyond Cold Water Bootcamp


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The techniques used in the extraction of a victim from the water into the boat are crucial to the safety of all involved and, in particular, to the health of the potentially hypothermic victim. Both First Responders and accidental responders can use these techniques, depending on the type of boat and equipment they have available, so this information is good for everyone to know.

With a variety of high, medium and low-freeboard rescue boats in use, no single technique or piece of equipment provides a “one size fits all” solution. 

The principles, however, remain the same:

  • Prepare a packaging system (with insulation and plastic vapour barrier) in advance if possible.

  • Be as gentle as possible in the extraction of the victim.

  • Once you have hold of the victim, don’t let go until they have been fully extracted into the boat.

  • Keep the victim as horizontal as possible.

  • If a packaging system is on board, place the victim gently into the system.

  • Attempt to secure the victim in the boat to minimize jostling on the trip to shore.

  • Take your time and move more carefully; with a cold victim, slower is better.

  • Frequently monitor the condition of the victim until the hand-off to medical staff has taken place.

These procedures should occur in conjunction with normal first responder checks for A, B, C’s, spinal and secondary injuries.

To learn how to receive an incoming victim on shore, and to see how to wrap a victim properly no matter where you are, start first with the Shore Rescue segment.

To learn the extraction techniques recommended for your specific boat type, click the corresponding link below.



Recreational Fishing Boat – Rope Technique