Tip # 109

How to: Avoid a Watery Grave – Drowning

Scenario: You’ve spotted a distressed non-swimmer out in the deep. Don’t go diving to the rescue just yet.

  • Call for help or instruct someone else to do it.
  • The biggest risk is that the panicked victim will drag you under as well, so keep your distance. Start with a tethered floatation device or long pole you can use to tow the victim in.
  • If you’ve got no choice but to get in close, approach feet first, propelling yourself with your hands and one leg (kind of a reclining doggy paddle); your other leg should be extended in front of you, pushing a floatation device and ready to kick them off if they happen to lunge at you.
  • Once the victim’s got firm hold of the device and calmed down a bit, grab the other end and start pulling back to shore, instructing the victim to kick in the process.
  • If at any point the victim grabs hold of you and compromises your ability to stay afloat, swim downward. He won’t likely follow.
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