Why it’s so hard to find people in the water

On Behalf of | May 6, 2023 | Personal Injury

One of the most dangerous maritime accidents that can happen is when someone falls overboard. These accidents are often fatal, and there are many cases in which the individual can never be recovered.

This is sometimes surprising to those who haven’t spent a lot of time on a ship. They assume that the boat could just come around and pick the person up, or that that person could swim back to the boat. But why is it actually so hard to find people who have fallen overboard?

The ship is moving faster than many people realize

When you’re on a ship, it often feels like it’s moving very slowly. But if you fall into the water, you can quickly feel how fast it pulls away from you. Realistically, most people who fall overboard cannot swim fast enough to catch back up to the boat.

No one knows they fell

In other situations, no one even knows that the person fell off. For instance, they may be suffering from the “instinctive drowning response.” This is a psychological reaction that is involuntary in humans. It makes it so that you can’t yell or wave to get someone’s attention. Your body only concentrates on keeping your head above water.

Site lines are not as good as you would think

It seems like it would be easy to find a person in a flat expanse of open water, but that often isn’t the case. The site lines just aren’t that good. For instance, maybe the water is choppy and so the person constantly disappears behind the waves. The best chance for rescue is immediately after the person has fallen overboard and before they have been lost from sight.

Have you lost a loved one?

If you’ve been involved in a maritime accident, you may have tragically lost a loved one or suffered significant injuries yourself. If so, it’s very important to know what legal steps to take.