If you encounter a drowning victim, check the respiratory and heart rate. If necessary, begin CPR. This lesson is intended to provide information on how to rescue someone who is currently at risk of drowning.
A common form of rescue is called “Reach, Throw, Row, and Go.”
Reach for a long object and extend it to the drowning person. This method works only if the person isn’t far away.
Throw anything and everything that floats to the drowning person. Many persons rescued at sea are found clinging to ice chests. If you can’t swim or are unable to reach the victim, anything that floats might save his or her life.
Row anything that can float safely to the person. The person might be able to hold onto the vessel while you row back to shore.
Go into the water. This type of rescue should be used as a last resort. Make sure you have a towel, shirt, or something to use during the rescue to drag the person back to shore. If you weren’t able to find anything that floats to throw to the person or to row in, dive into the water. Be aware that most people cannot swim while dragging or holding another person. Can you safely get the person back to shore? If not, you might not be able to rescue the person. Don’t swim directly to the person who is drowning. Out of freight, the person might push you under the water. Have the person hold onto the object you brought (towel, shirt, or whatever.) Swim back to shore, dragging the person behind you.
We also offer a free certificate of completion. To receive the certificate you must pass a 50-question test with a score of 70 or higher. Check our Basic First Aid Certificate of Completion page for more information.