Floating facts

Discover the facts behind Float to Live

If you get into trouble in the water, knowing how to float could save your life. Here are some facts about floating to explain why it’s a skill you should know.

Man extends his arms and legs to help himself float

Prepare with practice

Build your confidence by practising our five steps to float in a swimming pool. Getting used to floating for up to 90 seconds (the duration it takes for cold water shock to pass) could be your lifesaver in open water.

Fight your instinct, not the water

  1. Fight your instinct to thrash around.

  2. Lean back, extend your arms and legs.

  3. If you need to, gently move them around to help you float.

  4. Float until you can control your breathing.

  5. Only then, call for help, swim to safety or continue floating until help arrives.

Man lies on his back and floats

Clothing can help you float

In most cases, clothing and footwear improves buoyancy during the first moments in the water - because it traps air between the layers when you fall in. Moving less helps the air stay trapped, helping you to float. The foam in most types of shoes will also help your feet stay buoyant, so you should keep them on, unless you feel them dragging you down.

The science behind floating

While you float, you can regain control of your breathing and your heart rate can begin to steady. So, if you find yourself in trouble in the water, relax and float for up to 90 seconds - the duration it takes for cold water shock to disappear.

Our leading expert Professor Mike Tipton explains the reality of cold water shock.