Beyond Cold Water Bootcamp


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Here’s a scenario in which either a professional First Responder or an accidental responder could find themselves:  a simple recreational fishing boat and basic supplies are the only things available in this rescue situation. Most of the time, with just the items you have on board, you can provide effective rescue assistance and save a life. 

Here’s an effective 2-person technique for this situation:

  • fishing_boat_1In the absence of a plastic vapour barrier, consider laying out any boat tarp pieces you have on hand.  The tarp is waterproof and will also provide limited insulation assistance.

  • Prepare a dock line to use as a makeshift sling.

  • Position the boat downwind with the victim at an appropriate retrieval point on the hull.

  • Lean down, each grabbing one of the victim’s wrists.
  • Without letting go, loop the rope sling around the victim and
    position under the arms.

  • Using the sling, hoist the victim into the boat and allow
    the victim to land on top of you to cushion the fall.

  • fishing_boat_2Once aboard, assess the victim’s condition as best you can. If available, wrap a tarp against the wet clothing to minimize evaporative heat loss. Add any other insulating materials (for example, spare clothing could be placed below the victim and blankets could be placed on top), to prevent further heat loss.

  • Secure the victim in the boat and head for shore.

  • If possible, radio ahead for medical resources to be on hand when you reach shore.

    Click the icon to see a video demonstration of this procedure.