About the Study Guide

You are looking at a preview of what’s in the timed Michigan Boat Ed Course. Feel free to look around, but you’ll need to register to begin progress toward getting your Michigan Boating Safety Certificate.

Learn More Register for the Course

Rescue Technique: Throwing a pfd to a person in the water

If you are on a dock when someone falls in, you should try to "talk" the victim to safety. If he or she is unable to get to the dock, you should:


Extend a fishing rod, branch, oar, towel, or other object to REACH out to the victim and pull him or her to safety. If nothing is available, lie flat on the dock and grab the victim's hand or wrist, and pull him or her to safety.


If the victim is too far away to reach and a boat isn't handy, THROW the victim a PFD or anything else that will float.


If a rowboat is available, ROW to the victim and then use an oar or paddle to pull the victim to the stern. Let the victim hold onto the stern as you paddle to shore. If the victim is too weak, hold onto him or her until help arrives. If using a powerboat, stop the engine and glide to the victim from the downwind side.


Swimmers without lifesaving training should not swim to a victim. Instead, GO for help. If you must swim, take along anything that floats to keep between you and the victim.