If you found yourself struggling in the water unexpectedly, your instinct would tell you to swim hard. But cold water shock could make you gasp uncontrollably. Then you could breathe in water and drown. Instead, you should Float to Live.
How to float
5 steps to know how to float
If you're struggling in the water
fight the urge to thrash around
extend your arms and legs
Gently move them around
to help you float if you need to
until you can control your breathing
Only then, call 999 or 112 for help
or swim to safety
What is cold water shock?
When in cold water (anything below 15°C), your body can go into cold water shock. If this happens, you lose control of your breathing and movement. Cold water shock also causes your heart rate and blood pressure to quickly increase, which can lead to cardiac arrest.
The average sea temperature around the UK and Ireland is just 12°C. Inland waters like lakes, rivers, lochs and reservoirs can be colder - even in the summer.
Remember, if you find yourself in difficulty in the water, Float to Live.
Rip currents are powerful currents that run out to sea. They can quickly drag you away from the shore and into deep water.
They can be difficult to spot, and it’s easy to get caught out by them. The best way to avoid rip currents is to choose a lifeguarded beach and always swim between the red and yellow flags. You can always ask RNLI lifeguards for advice.
Knowing how to float could save your life in an emergency. That’s something Evan Chrisp knows all too well. While swimming in the sea, he got caught in a rip current and was quickly dragged away from the shore. Thankfully, he floated to live.
‘I just want to thank everyone at the RNLI for raising awareness through this campaign, because, ultimately, it saved my life.’
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