So, what is the right thing to do if you find yourself unexpectedly in the water? Well, if do you find yourself suddenly immersed in cold water, your instincts will kick in: you’ll want to swim and you’ll want to panic.
1. Fight your instinct to panic or swim hard
2. Lean back in the water to keep your airway clear
3. Push your stomach up, extending your arms and legs
4. Gently move your hands and feet to help you float
5. In 60 – 90 seconds you’ll be able to control your breathing
Pretty simple advice, but it could save your life! Just 1% of those surveyed knew this stuff, so it’s important to spread the word.
Why is it so important? Professor of Human and Applied Physiology at England’s University of Portsmouth Mike Tipton explains:
“Our instinctive response to sudden immersion in cold water – gasping, thrashing and swimming hard – is potentially a killer,” Professor Tipton said,
“It increases chances of water entering your lungs, increases the strain on your heart, cools the skin further and lets air escape from any clothing, which then reduces buoyancy.”
This lifeguard demonstrates the floating technique in step 4.
“It was a bit of an eye-opener,” the lifeguard said, “I was surprised at how quickly I became tired from acting distressed, flailing and thrashing in the water.
“This was in a pool; in a real-life emergency in any open waters, panicking would wear you out even more, which is why it is so important to stay calm.”
He added, “Remember, if you do find yourself in trouble, panicking will only exacerbate your situation. Fight your instinct to panic and swim hard. Instead, relax and float until you have overcome the effects of cold water shock and regained control of your breathing.
“Then you can decide your next move – whether that’s swimming to safety or calling for help.”
It’s called the ‘Float to Live’ technique and it could save your life!
Don’t forget to SHARE to spread awareness and let us know your thoughts in the COMMENTS!