Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Signs of Drowning


Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project
Dave Benjamin, Executive Director of Public Relations, 708-903-0166
Bob Pratt, Executive Director of Education, 517-643-2553

Time is of the essence

GREAT LAKES, USA – The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project (GLSRP) wants everyone to know the know the Signs of Drowning because time is of the essence:  

·         92% of the victims who survive a drowning episode are recovered within 2 minutes of submersion.
·         The survival rate drops to 14% if submerged 10 minutes (These survivors will usually have moderate to severe brain injury.)

Drowning is usually not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect.  Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling – that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for – is rarely seen in real life.  Train yourself to recognize what drowning looks like in case you need to spot it or find yourself doing the signs of drowning.
The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water.  And it does not look like most people expect.  There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind.  

The Signs of Drowning:
·         Head tilted back
·         Mouth at water level
·         Hyperventilating or gasping
·         Ladder climb motion, rarely out of the water.
·         Vertical in water.  Not using legs.
·         Hair over forehead or eyes
·         Look of panic or eyes glassy or closed
·         Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway

Know the Signs of Drowning for two reasons:
1.      To identify someone who is drowning
2.      In case you find yourself drowning/doing the signs of drowning, STOP IT and FLOAT.

Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure – Ask them, “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all – they probably are. If they return a blank stare – you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them.

Source: Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning, by Mario Vittone on May 3, 2010 in Boating Safety, Water Safety


The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, Inc. (GLSRP) is about saving lives.  It is a nonprofit corporation that is a Chapter of the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) that tracks drowning statistics, teaches “Water Safety Surf Rescue” classes, and leads the “Third Coast Ocean Force” rip current awareness campaign on the Great Lakes.

It has been selected to present at the 2nd International Rip Current Symposium Nov. 1st, 2012 in Sydney, Australia; the 2012 winner of the “Outstanding Service to the Great Lakes Community” award presented by the Dairyland Surf Classic; the 2011 “Lifesaver of the Year” award winner; and a presenter at the NDPA’s 11th Annual Symposium in San Diego, March 9, 2012.

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