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Meowerinae t1_jddu7hr wrote

When I was doing my cert to beccome a lifeguard, something that stood out to me was how dangerous people drowning are, and how in their survival mode they will grab their rescuers and drown them without a second thought. It was a big lesson on bringing a floatation device and throwing it to them while remaining a safe distance away. I don't think this could have been official training but I remember hearing that it's safer to knock a drowning person unconscious before trying to save them if you have nothing to throw to them. Not sure how you'd accomplish that but it just highlights how dangerous drowning people can be to those trying to save them.


I_just_made t1_jddx5k7 wrote

You hear similar things when going through rescue diver certification in the PADI system of scuba diving. Been several years since doing that, but from what I recall you’d throw a floatation device to / past them if you could.

If you had scuba gear on and had to approach in the water, you’d maintain a bit of distance to assess the situation before making any kind of approach. I think you were supposed to keep your regulator in your mouth when close in case they tried to climb on you, but I could be misremembering that.


CandiedOwl t1_jdel90o wrote

I’m currently going through this course now. Yesterday we did panicked diver rescue skills, in which we were instructed to dive beneath them, surface behind them, and straddle their tank with our knees while we inflate their BCD and then ours. We haven’t gone over rescuing a non-diver yet, but I think that the going under / resurfacing behind them would be a good way to avoid them hanging on to you and would make it easier to knock them out if necessary.


StitchinThroughTime t1_jdetn41 wrote

Yes, it's one of the ways people actually told to getting drowning people to stop grabbing on to you is to dive down below. They don't want to be underwater so you dragging them down freaking out even more and they let go.


I_just_made t1_jdfezbg wrote

Ah yeah that’s it! It has been several years since I have even gotten the chance to dive.

Hope things go well for your course, they are useful skills that can certainly make you more confident when diving in a variety of situations.


lazytemporaryaccount t1_jdh2gn3 wrote

To be fair, you don’t need to knock them unconscious, you just wait until they fall unconscious on their own from the whole “drowning” part. At least that’s what they taught us to do if it was too dangerous to approach someone. A lot of the rescue techniques where also specifically designed to grab people from behind/immobilize their arms for similar reasons.

Also I’ll never forget the instruction that if someone panicking / drowning does grab onto you to try to keep their head under water, don’t fight them and try to get to the surface. Instead stay calm and go down once holding onto you means going underwater, they’ll let go.

And as always 1) Reach (ie grab someone from a safe location/ reach out to them with something inflatable that they can latch onto) 2) Row (approach in a boat, particularly in open water) 3) Throw (an inflation device) THEN 4) Go

Going into the water after someone is dangerous and other options should be considered first, even for lifeguards. As a bystander, your first instinct may be to jump right in, but always look for other options.