Surfing, sailing, diving, even just chilling out on the beach. Water is a key part of many gap year experiences. Knowing these five steps can help keep you and your mates safe.
We’re taught to rely on instinct when we don’t know what to do. But often our first instincts when we find ourselves in danger in the water are wrong. 90% of the 128 people who lost their lives at the UK coast in 2018 were male. Over half of those who died at the coast in 2018 ended up in the water unexpectedly.
If you find yourself unexpectedly in cold water, it’s natural to want to panic and swim hard. Instead, stay calm and float on your back. Then you can plan your next move to safety.
5 steps to floating
Follow these five steps to float and share them with your mates. They could save your life.
If you’re in trouble in cold water:
- FIGHT YOUR INSTINCT TO THRASH AROUND
- LEAN BACK, EXTEND YOUR ARMS AND LEGS
- 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
If you see someone struggling in the water at the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard. If you’re overseas call the local emergency number. Don’t go in after them—you may get into trouble yourself.
‘Floating helped save my life’
Evan got caught in a rip current. Thankfully, he had seen the Float to Live video and knew what he had to do—stay calm and float. To watch his story, visit respectthewater.com.
Share this #FloatToLive advice. It could help save a life.
Visit respectthewater.com for more water safety tips and advice.
This article was in partnership with RNLI