To help prevent water accidents and drownings, it’s important to know how to rescue someone in the water. If you see someone in trouble, stay calm and take a moment to figure out what’s happening. Are there other people who need help? Are there things nearby that could be used to rescue them?
If you see someone trying to rescue the person in trouble, be ready to help. Make sure someone has called for help, and keep an eye on the person who needs rescuing. If they go underwater, remember where you last saw them.
To rescue someone, think about the four water rescue techniques: Reach, Throw, Row, Go. This is an easy way to remember how to help someone in the water. It’s important to know when to use each one, starting with the easiest and moving to the most difficult if necessary.
If the victim is conscious and close to the shore, look for a long stick, pole or paddle to perform a rescue.
If you can’t reach the victim, try throwing a buoyant object to them.
If you can’t reach the victim and the victim is unable to grasp a buoyant object, race to the victim in a boat.
A swimming rescue is the final option. Only use it when the other options don’t work. Grab a floating aid and have the victim grab it. Make contact with the victim only if absolutely necessary. Never use this rescue option unless you are a strong swimmer.
You can learn more about water rescue techniques by earning the Lifesaving merit badge.
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