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in: Featured, Outdoor/Survival, Skills, Visual Guides

• Last updated: July 1, 2022

What Drowning REALLY Looks Like

Illustraction what drowning really looks like.

If you’re heading out to the beach or lake this summer, be sure to know the 10 “quieter” signs of drowning — they’re easy to miss.

Source: Mario Vittone

Many people think that this is what drowning looks like, but thrashing in the water is actually a sign of aquatic distress. The person is in trouble but can still take part in their own rescue by grabbing onto something. After this point the instinctive drowing response sets in. The person’s mouth bobs above and below the water and they press down on the water laterally to try to stay above it, and thus they cannot wave or yell for help. So be sure to look for these 10 quiter signs of downing instead.

  1. Head low in the water, mouth at the water level.
  2. Head tilted back with mouth open.
  3. Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus.
  4. Eyes closed.
  5. Hair over forehead or eyes.
  6. Not using legs-Vertical.
  7. Hyperventilating or gasping.
  8. Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway.
  9. Trying to roll over on the back.
  10. Appear to be climbing an invisible ladder.

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Illustration by Ted Slampyak

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