If you need to, gently move your arms and legs to help you float
Float until you can control your breathing
Only then call for help or swim to safety
Respect the water
The RNLI has a Respect the Water national drowning prevention campaign during summer months. It highlights the risks and gives advice on how to keep safe.
Fight your instincts, not the water. Everyone who falls unexpectedly into cold water wants to follow the same instinct: to swim hard and to fight the cold water. But when people fight it, chances are that they lose.
Current drowning figures show a clear gender divide, with men accounting for over two-thirds of those who die – particularly those aged between 16 and 39 who are more likely to take risks.
Cold water shock can have fatal consequences and it is triggered in water which is cooler than 15°. The average temperature of UK waters is 12°. So even in the summer the water temperature is cold enough to steal the air from your lungs and leave you helpless in seconds.
#RespectTheWater focuses on simple skills that could save a life:
If you find yourself unexpectedly in the water do as little as possible and float to increase your chances of survival.
The more people who are aware of this advice, the more change everyone has of staying alive.
Rescuing a drowning person is the last report and you should do everything possible to avoid getting into a dangerous situation in the first place. If you have to make a rescue attempt think of your own safety first and never put yourself in danger. If the rescue is too dangerous wait until the emergency services arrive.
The first thing you must do if you see someone in trouble is to shout for help – send someone to ring 999.
Throw something that will float – a ball, plastic bottle or lifebuoy
Reach with a long stick, clothes or anything else. Crouch or lie down to avoid being pulled in
Keep the casualty warm and make sure they get medical help.