Swimming as a recreational activity is an excellent way in which you can maintain your health and physical strength. But if you’re not careful enough, you might get into trouble. Namely, drowning is the second leading cause of death for young people according to research done on the subject. So you must proceed with caution.
The first thing that you need to always keep in mind is that prevention of harm is key in the case of swimming. Whatever you may do the best thing you can hope for is the prevention of anything bad happening. Solving problems once they arise is a second step, preceded by the first. So always try to prevent any accidents from happening, by minimizing the chances of them occurring. If the weather’s bad and there are waves in the place where you’d like to swim in, then cool it off and leave swimming for another time when the weather will be better.
If however a person should begin drowning you can’t allow yourself to lose any time. Every second is precious as the life of that person is on the line. What you need to first do is to alarm everybody in sight that there’s a person drowning. And then with the collective effort of the people around you (provided that the scene is safe for you), go into the water and get the person out.
The absolute first thing you need to do after you get the person is out of the water is to call 911, or ask someone by explicitly pointing your finger towards them and asking them to do it. You’d be surprised how often is the case that someone screams “SOMEONE CALL 911” on the top of their lungs, and everyone hears it, but no one decides to take the responsibility and actually call 911, because everyone already thinks that someone else will make the call. So always select a person from the crowds and directly say to them that they should call 911. Make sure that they understand you and that they go about it.
The next thing that you should do after calling 911 is to assess the condition of the person. If he’s unconscious then check his pulse and breathing. There are many variations of what you need to do in case he is breathing and having a pulse but is unconscious, or if he has a pulse but he’s not breathing, or if he has no breathing and no pulse. These will be the topic of some other articles as they are a bit more complex. A single crucially important technique that you should learn though is cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This might prove to be the difference that save that person’s life.
If you maintain caution while swimming then you’ll realize that the risk for danger is minimal, and that you can enjoy swimming for what it is – a great and fun way to spend your time.