Drowning doesn’t look like you’d expect: Here’s how to protect yourself

Do you know what drowning looks like?

The popular image of death under water—characterized by flailing arms and legs, screams, and desperate cries for help—is ubiquitous in movies and on television.

But the victims mostly slip under the Pop up unnoticed, a leading water safety organization has warned.

“Drowning doesn’t look like it does in the movies,” warns Guy Addington, South East Water Safety Lead at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

“Someone who is thrashing and screaming – they might be in serious distress, but they’re not drowning.

Drown can go unnoticed, silent and unseen until it is far too late.”

Silent drowning happens with “alarming frequency,” Addington warns.

But you can protect yourself – and others – from that fate by following a few simple tips.

What does drowning look like?

Around 140 people die by drowning in the UK every year coast. If you include the number of fatalities Inland courts and poolsthis grim number climbs to over 400.

More than 5,000 people die this way every year across the EU.

Part of the problem is a misconception about how people drown, Addington explains.

“Drowning very often doesn’t look like what you would expect,” he says.

“Drowning is water entering the airways and suffocating [it] high. And once you have water in your airways, you can’t make any noise.”

In addition to his work for the RNLI, Addington has volunteered for Margate Lifeboat Station since he was 17. In nearly three decades on the station, he has helped thousands of people in need sea.

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The reason why drowning is so dangerous is that victims usually can’t signal that they might attract attention, he explains.

“A very recent example involved a four-year-old girl who went missing from a beach location,” he says.

“It was found below the surface in a coastal pool area. Luckily she makes a full recovery.

“But the point is, it was a beautiful day with really favorable conditions in a fairly sheltered spot. And it slipped beneath the surface unnoticed by thousands of people on that particular beach.”

Drowning often looks like nothing – and that’s what makes it so dangerous.

How to prevent drowning?

Luckily, there are ways to reduce the risk of drowning.

The key is to keep an eye on your friends and family Beach. Since children are particularly vulnerable, they must be supervised at all times.

“Assure yourself children don’t go it alone,” Addington says.

“It sounds obvious, but it can be really difficult when it’s a nice sunny day and you’re enjoying yourself.”

If you find yourself in trouble, try not to panic. Instead, follow the RNLI’s advice to “float to live”.

Fight the instinct to do so swim hard – it will only tire you. Instead, sit back, stretch out your arms and legs in a starfish shape, and float on your back. You may have to wiggle your limbs slightly to stay afloat.

Once you’ve controlled your breathing, you can think about your next move – whether it’s calling for help or trying to swim to safety.

What other swimming safety tips should you know?

Know your swimming limits – especially at the beach.

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“Drowning is almost always a result of people overestimating their ability to swim and underestimating the risks and dangers,” Addington says.

“People think their skill at a pool equals their skill at one open water Vicinity.

“But the bottom isn’t level, you don’t know where the shallow part is, you don’t know where the deep part is – and the water is moving.”

Whether you swim or take one inflatable or going out by boat, you need to be aware of the surrounding conditions.

The weather can change quickly, so check the weather forecast before heading out. Make sure you understand when the tides come in and go out.

Keep an eye out for powerful currents pouring into the sea known as riptides. They can pull you off the road quickly Riverbank and into the deep water.

If you find yourself in a rift, “swim to live” – ​​then swim parallel to shore to try to outrun the current.

Finally, if you see someone in distress, you’ll know which emergency number to call. In the UK, call 999 and ask for the coastguard. If you’re swimming in Europe, check the local emergency contact before you go.

“We don’t want to take on the spoilsport mantle, we really want people to come to the coast,” says Addington.

“But we want to make sure that when people visit this coast do this safely.”

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