You don’t have to be a high-level Navy Seal behind enemy lines to get into a life or death drowning situation. It can happen out of nowhere on vacation, or even at swimming pool. Being prepared for these types of things, even if you’ve just read an article and thought about it a bit, can be the difference between making it out alive or not. Having just that little bit of knowledge tucked away in the back of your mind could save your life.

Clint Emerson, a former Navy Seal, has written a book about 100 important skills that everyone should have, that could save your life. One of them is about what to do if you’re drowning and want to survive, and we’ll assume you do, because that’s got to be one of the worst ways to go.

Granted, these tips are more useful if someone actually tries to drown you on purpose than in an accidental situation, but if they can work when an enemy has tied you up, tossed you in the water, and left you for dead – then they can certainly work under normal circumstances.

Here is an excerpt from the book, explaining how to survive a drowning attempt: 

“When an operative is captured in hostile territory, the odds of survival are low. Instead of being taken to trial, he will likely simply be made to “disappear” — which is why operatives practice escaping while wearing undefeatable restraints on hands and feet, both in water and on land. Tied up, thrown into open waters, and left to drown to death, the well-trained operative still has recourse to a few skills that can help extend his life until he is found or reaches solid ground.”

“When it comes to self-preservation in water, the key to survival is breath control. With the lungs full of air, the human body is buoyant — so deep breaths and quick exhales are key. Buoyancy in freshwater is more challenging but still achievable. Panicking, which can lead to hyperventilation, is the number-one enemy to survival.

“Restraints and body positioning may make breathing a challenge, but repositioning is always within the Nomad’s grasp. In shallow waters, use a sinking and bouncing approach (see diagram below) to travel toward shore, ricocheting off the seabed or lake floor up to the surface for an inhale. When facing down, whether floating in place or using a backward kicking motion to swim to shore, the operative should arch his back in order to raise his head above water.”

So, there you have it. You can cross ‘learn to survive an attempted drowning’ off your to-do list for today.

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