Relax and Swim

Safety: Drowning Rescue

Only if you are a trained lifeguard should you attempt a swimming rescue. Even if you know how to swim a little, you are not qualified to rescue another swimmer in trouble unless you have taken a Y, Red Cross or equivalent course in water rescue.
In particular, you are not to jump in the water. Trained lifeguards themselves do this only as a last resort. OK?

So what can a nonswimmer do if no other help is available?

  • If the drowning victim is close enough, extend a pole, broom handle, branch, boat oar, an arm or leg (yours) or even a towel to grab on to.
  • If you decide to pull the victim out, (and you’ll judge for yourself if this is appropriate), stay down low, hold onto something solid and lean your weight back to avoid being pulled into the water by the victim.
  • If the drowning victim is too far away for you to reach, you can toss a life preserver or anything that floats for their support. Then call for help immediately.
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