Here's how to survive when exhaustion hits while you're in the water

Posted at 6:39 PM, May 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-30 08:21:51-04

It happens every year, a sun-filled day turning tragic, with precious lives lost out on the water. One of the most likely reasons for a swimmer drowning is exhaustion.

So we wanted to know, if you’re in crisis, how can you save yourself before it’s too late?

"Use as little energy as want to remain as calm and still as you possibly can and to remain as flat as possible," said David Woitulewicz, Director of Water Aquatics at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools.

He demonstrated what’s called survival floating, done face up or face down.

"By spreading out and getting the stronger and fuller breaths of air will increase your survival rate in those emergency situations," he said.

But what about that good old treading water technique? Woitulewicz says it’s vital tool, but it’s got to be done right.

"The natural instinct is just to push down and get as high as you can," he added.

That panicky peddling just tires you even quicker. Instead, he says you should keep your arms extended, using a gentle side to side motion that allows you to take in fuller breaths.

And if you’re the type to simply rely on yelling to get some help, perhaps you should think again.

"Better to use your arms...If you try to yell and you’re already running short of breath, you’re going to end up with that mouthful of water as soon as you drop back down."

It’s a crisis no one wants to be in, but how well you perform ultimately depends on how well you’re prepared.

And to get that preparation, you can take part in swim schools like Aqua Tots and Goldfish - where classes are offered for both children and adults or the American Red Cross, which has its own swimming & water safety training courses.