Someone who has been rescued from drowning needs to get rid of as much water as possible out of his or her lungs and needs artificial respiration to get air in. This should be started quickly. Complete recovery is possible, particularly if the accident occurred in seaw-ater, if first aid is given within five minutes. Even if a longer period has elapsed you should still try to revive the casualty: in some cases, unconscious and hardly-breathing people have come round after 20 to 30 minutes of resuscitation.

Artificial respiration can be started as soon as the casualty is pulled onto a boat if they are rescued at sea. If you are a strong swimmer, or within your depth in the water, you can give the first few breaths while you pull the casualty to dry land. Check breathing and heartbeat once on land, and perform resuscitation as required. You may need to treat the casualty for hypothermia. Anyone who has nearly drowned, even if seeming to recover, should be transferred to hospital, because the inhaled water’s affect on the lungs may take several hours to develop. Remember that more than half the total number of people who drown lose their lives trying to save others in difficulty in the water. This form of life-saving is not for the untrained.