Cold Water Shock and the Five Steps to Float

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We recently came across this information related to cold water shock and staying alive in the water on the Royal National Lifeboat Association (RNLI) website.

This topic has also been in the news recently, specifically highlighting the dangers of cold water shock which can make you unable to breathe if you suddenly enter cold water.

Cold water shock can cause a person to gasp for air, leading to anxiety and panic and this can affect the persons breathing pattern, and often leads to drowning. In certain situations, the sudden immersion into cold water can cause the person to go into cardiac arrest.

If you see someone in trouble in the water, call 999/112 immediately and ask for the coastguard. Please do not be a hero and jump in; otherwise you could put yourself in danger.

The RNLI share this important message as it has proven to save lives.

Five steps to float

  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 or swim to safety

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