Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning
Instinctive Drowning Response
- In the vast majority of cases, drowning people are physiologically incapable of calling out for help because the human body is wired to give priority to the primary respiratory function, breathing, and not to speech, which is a secondary overlaid function.
- Drowning people’s mouths are not above the water long enough to enable them to exhale, draw breath and call out, they have barely time to exhale and inhale quickly before their mouths go back under the water.
- When we are drowning, our natural instinct is to press our arms outwards and downwards onto the surface of the water so we can leverage our bodies upwards to catch our breath.
- Waving arms about to draw attention is a voluntary movement: we have to stop drowning first before we can physically perform voluntary movements like waving for help, grabbing rescue equipment or moving toward a rescuer.
- While in the Drowning Response, people stay upright but they don’t perform supporting kicks, and unless rescued, they struggle on the surface of the water up to 60 seconds before they go under.