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How do I help a person who is in trouble in the water?

  • When possible, start by talking to the person.
  • Let the person know that help is coming.
  • If noise is a problem or if the person is too far away to hear you, use nonverbal communication.
  • Direct the person what to do, such as grasping a line, ring buoy or other object that floats.
  • Ask the person to move toward you, which may be done by using the back float with slight leg movements or small strokes.
  • Some people can reach safety by themselves with the calm and encouraging assistance of someone calling to them.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.