Mario Vittone (May 18, 2010)
"The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. 'I think he thinks you're drowning,' the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. 'We're fine, what is he doing?' she asked, a little annoyed. 'We're fine!' the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. 'Move!' he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, 'Daddy!'"
The article's written for a print-format magazine, so the paragraphs are longer than what's usually seen online: but it's a fairly easy, fast, read.
And reading it could save the life of someone in your family.
That may sound overly-dramatic, but I think it's accurate. And, I'm particularly aware of the need for good sense around water, since I live in central Minnesota. 'Lake country' starts just north of here, and people drown each year.
Granted, the odds of death by drowning for each person in a given year is about 1 in 100,000: but it won't feel good if that the dead body was someone you know.
If you don't read the article here's a bit of insight, from near the end of the article. If you ask someone in the water 'are you okay?' and all you get is a blank stare - they're not.
There's a five-point list describing the instinctive drowning response, from the Coast Guard's On Scene magazine, and a bulletized list of other signs of drowning.
Bottom line? Drowning doesn't look like the dramatized situations we see on television and in the movies. This article tells about the real thing: in enough detail to maybe safe a life.
- On Scene magazine (pdf format)
The Journal of U. S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue (Fall 2006)
(I've saved a copy of this issue on another server.)
- "Minnesota yearly watercraft & water accident record"
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
A tip of the hat to , on Twitter, for the heads-up on this article.