PSA: Drowning

There are many misconceptions about drowning.  It is so critically important to understand the differences between struggling and drowning because it takes so painfully short of a time for someone, especially a child, to drown.

Rescuing Drowning Children

  1. “Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs.
  2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
  3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
  4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
  5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.”

This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble—they are experiencing aquatic distress. Not always present before the Instinctive Drowning Response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long—but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in their own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are in the water:

  • Head low in the water, mouth at water level

  • Head tilted back with mouth open

  • Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus

  • Eyes closed

  • Hair over forehead or eyes

  • Not using legs—vertical

  • Hyperventilating or gasping

  • Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway

  • Trying to roll over on the back

  • Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder

Swimming

Water is a terrifying thing.  The might of the oceans manifests itself in the tides, hurricanes, tsunamis, and the corroding power of salt.  Everything that man can conceive of is destroyed given enough time and water. Within water, such an essential life-giving element, is the power to destroy in any number of ways.

But water is something else too… it is essential to life.  It composes over two-thirds of our bodies and every organism on this planet requires it to survive.  More so, it teems with life itself – from fish, to algae, to millions of species of everything from lobsters and sea slugs to the largest mammals on Earth.

Last night, I went swimming.  I love swimming above most workouts because I can’t listen to music while I do it.  It is rhythmic, repetitive, and is an incredibly taxing workout regardless of intensity.  It is also a great time to think and try to listen to God.

We are awash in grace.  We are not just soaked in it, we are immersed completely in it.  It’s like we are in the middle of an Olympic-sized swimming pool and there is just a torrent of grace pouring down on us while we are swimming in it.  There is so much of it, that it is astonishing.  Christ didn’t just pour out enough for each of us on the cross, He poured out increasing grace for each of us and continues to do so every day.  We just have to recognize it.

Have you ever looked at a baptism and really thought about what it symbolizes?  Baptism has always been taught in my life as an expression of faith – that we are putting to death our old life of trying to live under The Law and rising “born again” in Christ.  I’ve always thought this metaphor was lacking.  If we look at water as a symbolic manifestation of grace, could baptism be an acknowledgment and acceptance of that grace…. even a surrender to it?

If you acknowledge Christ, you’re swimming in grace… if you don’t, then you’re drowning in sin.

You get to choose: sink or swim.

Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.

Acts 22:16

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Romans 6:14

Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.

John 1:16

It is by grace you have been saved, through faith.

Ephesians 2:8

 

 

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