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How To Save Someone Who Is Drowning

How To Save Someone Who Is Drowning


Shippers Guide is the learning page of MMS Plus newspaper. Here we answer the five W’s and H of several issues in the shipping industry. In this article, we will address how to identify a drowning person; different types of drowning situations and how to help out and at the same time keeping yourself from the risk of being drowned.

Hope you remember that saying that a drowning man would grasp at straws. Well, it is true so you wouldn’t want to be the straw.

Drowning persons are often desperate and would grab at the closest thing to them with a grip of death. It is a harrowing experience to watch someone drown without any hope of help; or trying to help and getting drowned in the process. This article guides you on how to go about saving a drowning person without exposing yourself to much risk.

Nobody prays to witness a drowning person but you never can tell where the life of a drowning person might depend on you. Whether it is in the swimming pool or a river, people do drown whether for exhaustion or lack of swimming skills. Learning some basics of how to save a drowning person is not far-fetched.

Even if you don’t have life guard trainings or you have never helped a drowning person before, the simple tips and instructions in this guide should help you in saving the life of any person that is drowning.

How To Identify A Drowning Person

It is sometimes difficult to identify a drowning person especially if the person is a good swimmer. Am a pretty good swimmer but I almost got drowned in a river where we went swimming. It was a new environment and I was not aware of the undercurrents in some parts of the river. I almost got drowned until I dove under and swam my way to the riverside. Nobody knew or believed I needed help when I was struggling for life.

There are ways for you to know someone who is drowning;

When the swimmer is not making any progress in water and is vertical

When he is moving irregularly with his head barely out of water

When the swimmer is unable to call for help or reply to shouts from colleagues

When you observe any of the three instances above, the swimmer is most probably drowning. What you do at this point is to call for assistance even if you are experienced as a life guard or a pretty good swimmer. Having others assist you is a good idea. Stay calm and analyze the situation. Getting panicky would not help the victim and you could also end up getting drowned yourself. If possible, tell the victim to remain calm while you make moves to save the victim.


Saving a Drowning Person

A drowning person is totally desperate and helpless and would grab the nearest thing to him; even empty air. One should be careful while helping a drowning person or else you might end up been grabbed and drowned yourself. There are different methods of helping a drowning person depending on the distance from the edge of the pool, pier or rock.

If the person is close to the pool or rock, you could throw him a life buoy or any other reachable device but where there is none available and he is close to you, you could reach out an arm , making sure that you lie face down with your legs spread apart for balance.

However, the most common case of drowning is the one where the victim is in the middle of the water, very much far from the edge where you have to go into the water to help out. This is very dangerous even for professionals and you have to be very careful.

Go into the water with an object that you can give to the victim; maybe a life buoy and solid object; call out to the victim and throw it at him, keeping your distance to make sure he doesn’t grab you. I still think this is risky.

Here is how I do mine. I swim into the water and keep a safe distance from the drowning victim, watching him thrash until he gets exhausted and there is no more flapping. At this stage, the victim poses no risk to me. I swim to him and grab him while I swim to the store.

At this point, it is advisable to call emergency services even as you give a mouth to mouth resuscitation.

Different types of rescues. Starting with the least dangerous, working our way to the most dangerous.

Talking assist – by verbally yelling to the person and instructing them to swim toward you.

Throwing assist – by throwing something to the drowning person, instructing them to grab onto it and to swim toward you.

Reaching assist from land –if you are near the person, use something to reach them and pull them to where they can touch.

Wade-in assist – if you have to enter the water, always remember to only go as far as you feel comfortable (never going up to the person). Wade-in assist means you are in the water, but where you CAN TOUCH ONLY. By walking into the water, you will get closer to them…and you have the ability to throw, or use a reaching assist.

Swim assist (not recommended by anyone who is not professionally trained) – This assist requires you to use a buoyant aid, swim up to the person, and push it to them…WITHOUT touching them. They will swim toward the rescuer, without the rescuer touching them or the flotation device.

Tow assist (not recommended by anyone who is not professionally trained) – This assist requires the rescuer to grab onto the flotation device and tow the person to the edge/shore.

Carry assist  (not recommended by anyone who is not professionally trained) – This assist requires the rescuer to physically carry the person. Very rarely used and NOT recommended to anyone. This is a very common assist that the public thinks is sufficient. It is NOT. Please do not perform this unless you have professional training/practice. There are many risks and hazards for even the strongest of swimmers/lifeguards.


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