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Drowning doesn't look like drowning!

Discussion in 'Boat Angling / Angling Afloat' started by meldelkel, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. meldelkel

    meldelkel Member

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    Gents - I have cut and pasted this from another forum.
    I think it makes an interesting read.

    Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning
    The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!” How did this captain know, from fifty feet away, what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten? Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect.
    The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television.
    If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew knows what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story.
    Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life. The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind.
    To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC).
    Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:
    1.Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.

    2.Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.

    3.Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.

    4.Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.

    5.From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs. (Source: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg534/On S ... Fall06.pdf)

    This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble – they are experience aquatic distress. Not always present before the instinctive drowning response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long – but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in there own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc. Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:
    •Head low in the water, mouth at water level
    •Head tilted back with mouth open
    •Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
    •Eyes closed •Hair over forehead or eyes
    •Not using legs – Vertical
    •Hyperventilating or gasping
    •Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
    •Trying to roll over on the back
    •Ladder climb, rarely out of the water.

    So if a crew member falls overboard and every looks O.K. – don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them: “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all – they probably are. If they return a blank stare – you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents: children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.
     
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  3. Clinker

    Clinker Member

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    And still people don't wear lifejackets!
     
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  4. Neil Edwards

    Neil Edwards Member

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    Thanks for this post meldelkel, it has come as a bit of a shock to see how easily a person in distress can be missed!

    Moderators. I would strongly suggest that this post be given a wider audience by making it a No.1 sticky on all brances of the forum.
    We must remenber that this can occur when offshore, on a beach, a river or even a swimming pool!
     
  5. Gordon ST

    Gordon ST Member

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    Superb Post.
    I Very Sadly was involved with the Events that took place up in Gareloch only 3weeks ago 3 SMALL CHILDREN and 1Adult Drowned in what looked liked a Idilic bit of Water The Kids only had Life Preservers on and the Adults NOTHING AT ALL.
    How it all CAN GO SO WRONG.
     
  6. sgore

    sgore Member

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    Thanks for the lesson,
     
  7. alanwjones

    alanwjones Member

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    Agree with above.
     
  8. blackmouth

    blackmouth Member

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    amazing post and very informative-thanks:thumbs:
    well done gordon for helping mate.:clap3::thumbs:
     
  9. LilBrit

    LilBrit Member

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    A few weeks back some kids were jumping into the water at the Portsmouth harbour mouth, they got into trouble in the water and apparently some of them along with a guy who dived in to try and help drowned.

    We can never give the water too much respect when we go on to it!!!
     
  10. meldelkel

    meldelkel Member

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    Gents

    No need for thanks obviously. Some good comments so far esp. about life jackets and respecting the sea. Our H&S mantra at work is "Look after yourself, and look after each other". It's never more true than when playing on the water as we all know.

    Be safe and tight lines.
     
  11. smoggie

    smoggie Member

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    thanks for that ...............scary
     
  12. Salar

    Salar Member

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    Excllent thread, thanks for posting. I can vouch for the accuracy of what it says, many years ago I saw my young daughter doing exactly that in the swimming pool just 6 feet behind her mother. Luckily I saw and pulled her out, a few tears and she was right as rain. If I hadn't looked over she may not have been with us now.
     
  13. puckoon

    puckoon Member

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    they say that you learn something new everyday, well today i did by reading this excellent post. thanks for posting. this info should be in the national newspapers on a regular basis, and printed on an info board at all stretches of water, and boating venues. cheers, alan.
     
  14. gazza33_

    gazza33_ Member

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    It was a few years back down at Chalkwell Beach near Southend, a super hot day and i was playing with my two boys on the beach 5 and 7 I think they were...... Flinging a frisbee at each other on the sand as not really a lover of southend water, a packed beach, but loads of other people in the water.....

    Its wierd, cant explain it but I just felt that something was wrong and looked out in the water, I remember it vividly, just seeing this girls face silently dip below the water surface, I could see her face, but under water, she bobbed bak up, gasped slightly but not violently, didnt thrash her arms, then sank again below the water..... With that I screamed at my boyz STAY STILL DONT MOOVE! Then just sprinted down the beach into the water and launched myself out as far as I could into a shallow dive and paced it out to the girl..... I had her within 6 strokes and 2 breaths and pulled her up from under the water, she just stared at me then started to sob, I peddled backwards with her and could soon stand up.....

    My boyz were at the shoreline starring at me, now with around 20 other people, as the way I flew in the water people HAD realised something was up, though no one else out of the 200 or so people in the area noticed the girl...... Amazing really, as when we were again on the sand the only person who hadnt noticed all the commotion was the Bloody mother!!!! STill reading her paper, totally unaware she had almost lost her daughter!!!!

    So yes I can see everything described in your account and it has made me now 5-6 years later understand why I was the only one to see this........

    Amazing feeling to know that I had saved the girl, but at the time wasnt sure wether It was what I had done....... You know, had I imagined it? Did I over react...????? But this post has made it all a bit clearer..... :bye1:
     
  15. LilBrit

    LilBrit Member

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    NICE ONE MATE!!! :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:

    It is a funny feeling when you realise that you've saved someones life innit!
     
  16. gazza33_

    gazza33_ Member

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    Its a surreal feeling mate, great of course, though as you hear people say after similar experiences, you dont feel a hero, you just do it without thinking..... Adrenhilin kicks in and off you go..... :bye1:
     
  17. LilBrit

    LilBrit Member

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    Yup, I know just where you are coming from.
     
  18. HiddenAngler

    HiddenAngler Member

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    A very informative and eye opening post. A huge :clap: for making it a sticky.
     
  19. magnetandsteel

    magnetandsteel Member

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    Been involved in two drownings of kids in work and something I will never ever forget rest of my life. One in a river and the other in a quarry. Truly haunting experiences.
     
  20. Tim Watson

    Tim Watson Member

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    I nearley drowned on manley beach australia when i accidently swam on a boogie board outside of the red flags on the beach - i basically got caught in the rip current and taken further and further out -stupidly after a while i thought i could swim back better on my own rather than try to get back in on the boogie board, this is also a common reaction and shows that you very quickly lose sense of reality. This decision was what almost killed me. I swam and swam and swam still not getting anywhere front crawl, back crawl, doggie paddle until i could do no more - i then kinda gave up. i can remember being very cold - but weirdly calm, i tried to float and then started to go down. what the post says about being unable to speak or shout or wave your arms is very ture. after the first time under the water i tried to push myself up like getting out of a hole and thankfully friends who were surfing must have seen me getting drawn out by the rip. i was picked up by a massive aussie on a long board and put/dragged over the end of his board. by then a lifeguard was also with us and thankfully i was taken back to dry land and safety. i was 21 when this happened and had been swimming all my life and i was weighing 14 stone and very fit playing rugby union and rugby league and training twice a week. i wasnt silly just disrespectful of the sea. please always teach your kids the beach warning signs and install a sense of caution with the sea. the coast around our little island (u.K) is very cold most of the year and will only speed the drowning process up.
     
  21. grunty

    grunty Member

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    excellent thread
     
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