Water Phobias: Coming Over Your Fear of Water

Water Phobias: Coming Over Your Fear of Water

This blog on overcoming your fear of water is courtesy of Jeff Krieger, owner of SOAP: Strategies to Overcome Aquatic Phobias. Learn more at waterphobias.com Overcoming a fear of water differs from learning how to swim Quite often a mistake is made by both aquatic professionals and people who are looking to achieve specific aquatic goals.  There is a significant  difference between helping a person, regardless of their age, fitness level or life experience, overcome varying degrees of fear surrounding water, which is actually a fear of drowning, and teaching any person who is not suffering from that same fear, how to swim. The process and skill sets that are required to meet the needs of both populations are vastly different. Many people assume that an “experienced” swim instructor should be able to help a person overcome their fear of water, by teaching them the “nuts and bolts” of floating, gliding, treading and stroke development. After all, it does make some sense that once a person learns how to swim, that they should no longer remain fearful in water. The problem with that logic is twofold; first, is that many  learn to swim instructors wfill never even get the opportunity to meet and help those fearful of water, because many in that diverse population will never participate in their traditional swim programs as a result of their fears. Secondly, most often, if and when they do find the courage as adults or are forced to by well meaning parents to take swim lessons, quit because they begin to feel more fearful, angry, frustrated, disappointed, embarrassed and isolated than they...
RowSafeUSA: Cold Water Safety

RowSafeUSA: Cold Water Safety

This blog on cold water safety courtesy of Marc Messing who runs RowSafeUSA.org Northwestern University Rower’s Death A Northwestern University rower has drowned after falling into the waters of the Chicago River North Channel without a lifejacket. Reports say that the water was cold and swift-moving. The rower, Mohammed Ramzan of Auburn, Washington, was a nineteen year old freshman rowing with Northwestern University’s (club) crew team when he fell into the water. He apparently never surfaced in the murky, cold, moving water. A coach and one other person dove into the water in an attempt to rescue him, but were unsuccessful. Both rescuers were later hospitalized along with a firefighter who was hospitalized for routine decontamination after exposure to the river water. Rowing deaths are rare on warm water and under safe conditions, but more common in the life-threatening temperatures of cold water. Following Mohammed Ramzan’s death it is appropriate to review the particular dangers of cold water as discussed in USRowing’s 2007 safety video: cold water is, the video explains, “extremely dangerous when below 50 degrees” “the initial cold shock from falling into cold water provokes an immediate gasp reflex of up to two to three quarts of air, or water if your head is submerged” breathing and heart rates accelerate swimming failure can set in after only three minutes “cold water can quickly numb the extremities to the point of uselessness” “within minutes, severe pain clouds rational thought” It is also appropriate to review the guidance offered in January, 2015, apparently directed primarily to scullers: “uncontrolled shivering, disorientation and impaired judgment start to occur before exhaustion or unconsciousness.” someone in a launch “can throw...
Dry Drowning and Secondary Drowning Information

Dry Drowning and Secondary Drowning Information

Dry Drowning and Secondary Drowning Most people think that you can only drown while you are in water and while this is true, there are two related medical disorders known as “dry” and “secondary” drowning that can occur after the individual has left the water. Dry and secondary drowning are not as common as wet drowning but nevertheless, they still affects a fair number of individuals each year. Dry drowning is by far more common in children than in adults and it may occur when one breathes in water into the lungs. This can occur when one is struggling to swim but it can also occur as a result of getting water in the back of the throat during a playful dunk. In dry drowning, the water does not end up in the lungs. Instead as soon as the water reaches the back of the throat it causes severe spasm of the vocal cords, which shuts of all air to the lungs. Without air, survival is not possible. In secondary drowning the airways remain open and this allows the water to enter and flood the lungs; this prevents oxygen exchange and also makes breathing very difficult. In most cases, symptoms of dry drowning tend to occur soon after any incident involving water. Symptoms of secondary drowning usually take 1-24 hours to develop after the water accident. Fortunately both dry drowning and secondary drowning are rare events. There is no conclusive data being perfectly cataloged but estimates suggest they account for less than 1% of all drowning deaths. Symptoms of Dry Drowning and Secondary Drowning The symptoms of dry drowning and...
2nd Pan-Hellenic Lifesaving Sport Championship

2nd Pan-Hellenic Lifesaving Sport Championship

2nd Pan-Hellenic Lifesaving Sport Championship WITH REPRESENTATION FROM THE PRINCESS CHARLENE OF MONACO FOUNDATION  The Greek Championship was organized by the Hellenic Federation of Underwater Activity and supported by the Hellenic Ministry of Health, the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control & Prevention, the Hellenic Red Cross, the International Water Safety Foundation and other prestigious organizations. The Hellenic Federation of Underwater Activity, recognized by the General Secretariat of Sports, organized very successfully the 2nd Pan-Hellenic Lifesaving Sport Championship as means to preserve public health from drowning preventing. Lifesaving sport is very popular and held the last decades in numerous events at international level. If last year’s inaugural event was historic, this year it land-marked the continuity and the collaboration with key water safety related organizations. At the opening ceremony, several honoree presentations were made. The President of the Federation,Vaggelis Rakantas, presented a honorary statuette to the representative of the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation,  Kimberly Jarvis, Senior Project Manager, “for the significant contributions of the foundation to the work of the federation that aims to reduce drowning deaths in Greece, through water safety and lifesaving sport programs“. Dr. Vicky Bafataki, presented with the Honorary Medallion of the International Giuseppe Sciacca Awards, to Dr. Stathis Avramidis “for his pioneering and long contributions to the development of lifesaving sport in Greece“. Lastly, a honorary statuette was presented to the Mayor of Alimos, Andreas Kondylis, for his contributions and support. The number of participating teams was increased by 70% from last year. The championship hosted two events with great symbolism and a swim-a-thon for the general public. The Federation aims to co-operate with the Hellenic Red Cross (full member of the International Life Saving Federation), to send...
Hypoxic Blackout aka Shallow Water Blackout Reminders

Hypoxic Blackout aka Shallow Water Blackout Reminders

Please note that USA Swimming, the YMCA of the USA, and the American Red Cross have asked the swimming community to stop referring to “Hypoxic Blackout” as “Shallow Water Blackout”. “The use of this language in these cases is misleading since water depth is not a factor in the body’s response to hyperventilation and extended breath-holding.”   The following was shared through the Swim Coaches Idea Exchange Group on Facebook. It is a frighteningly scary story of hypoxic blackout from doing underwater training work at swim practice. At the root of the problem? A gross lack of awareness.   At the end of practice tonight, Kelly’s group at swim practice was directed to do an underwater no breath swim in the 50 M pool. The coach was a substitute coach. Kelly told the coach that it was dangerous to do and to tell the swimmers that they can come up for a breath if they need it. He didn’t. The swimmers did the 50 M underwater. The coach stayed at the end of the pool they started from. Kelly got out, put on her jacket and towel and almost headed to the lockerroom. She noticed that one of her teammates was not on deck. She had not surfaced. Kelly ripped off her jacket and towel, jumped into the pool and swam until she found her, FACE DOWN in 15 FT of water! Kelly pulled her to the surface. Her face was BLUE- SHE WAS NOT BREATHING!. Another swimmer helped Kelly get the girl out of the pool. Another 14 year old teammate, who JUST received her CPR certification, began CPR on...
Mauritius Celebrates #IWSD

Mauritius Celebrates #IWSD

The tiny village of Tamarin (population 4,000) in Mauritius is at it again, celebrating International Water Safety Day with an array of teachings, exercises, and a little bit of training!  Tamarin is located on the west coast of Mauritius  An old fishing village, Tamarin beach has become a hot spot for surfing.  The southern spot, ‘Dal’, and the northern spot, “Black stone” are world renowned. Thirty students, instructors, and volunteers gathered this morning.  The event was done in collaboration with the Tamarin Youth Centre, Tamarin Village Council, and Surf Lifesaving of Mauritius and sponsored by Rajesh Cooshna, President of the Tamarin Village Council and Viraj Ramharai, International Lifesaving Trainer and Water Wise Instructor.  Please see official press release below. Viraj continues to spearhead drowning awareness and water safety education throughout Mauritius.  He recently implemented the NLRI’s Water Wise program where the students help train the younger generation, as you can see in the pictures below. Next up!  From 1 June to 11th June  the Water Wise team will undergo intensive training for youth of Tamarin village.     Water safety lecture. Headed to the beach! Lifesavers should always properly stretch. Students Trainers training Students. Beach drills. Beach exercise. Mauritius PLAN! Mauritius Celebrates #IWSD More beach diving and drilling. PRESS RELEASE “TAMARIN VILLAGE CELEBRATING THE INTERNATIONAL WATER SAFETY DAY 2016” Every hour of every day more than 40 people lose their lives to drowning. International Water Safety Day is designed to help spread global awareness of the ongoing drowning pandemic. The lack of water safety education has propelled drownings worldwide. Through interdependence, we can change that. Surf Lifesaving Association of Mauritius in collaboration with Tamarin Youth Centre and...
Swim Safe Uganda Gets Water Safety Added to School Curriculum

Swim Safe Uganda Gets Water Safety Added to School Curriculum

The World Health Organization suggests that 91% of all drownings occur in low and middle income countries (LMIC’s).  Uganda, in East Africa, has one of the highest drowning rates in the world. Uganda is a landlocked country located in Africa’s great lakes region found on the Eastern part of Africa; west of Kenya, south of South Sudan, east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and north of Rwanda and Tanzania. It is in the heart of the Great Lakes region, and is surrounded by three of them, Lake Edward, Lake Albert, and Lake Victoria. Uganda is 241,551 sqkm of which 41,028 sqkm is covered by natural bodies of water. For the last 5 years, Swim Safe Uganda has been involved in ensuring that there is focused effort towards reducing the numbers involved in drowning.  Moses Kalanzi is the Director of Programs for Swim Safe Uganda. Moses and Swim Safe Uganda has created a strategy  to provide a massive awareness campaign through the country on aquatic survival by passing information about water safety inside of the school system.  Water safety education will be a part of every school’s curriculum beginning in 2017. Starting with the school teachers who will be certified at that level as Trainers of Trainees, the program is expected to be rolled out in such a way that at least four trainers are capable of handling 50 trainees to fully achieve the goals of the project.  This is expected to be broken into 6 phases over a period of 2 years until the entire country is covered and a study will be carried out thereafter to establish the awareness levels or identify any challenges that will still be in place so that possible...
Aquaview Fencing Committed to Water Safety Education

Aquaview Fencing Committed to Water Safety Education

Lack of swimming ability, parental supervision, and protective barriers such as pool fences are the leading factors that influence accidental swimming pool deaths, according to the Red Cross and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Aquaview Fencing, in partnership with The National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA), Safer 3, and The Consumer Product Safety Commission, is hosting a free, public event at the Brentwood Farmer’s Market on Sunday, May 15, 2016 to highlight International Water Safety Day. Educational programs and first aid / CPR demonstrations will be conducted, and guests will also enjoy live musical entertainment, children’s face painting, and a collaborative painting mural. “Accidents can be prevented with a glass fencing system that is modern, attractive and innovative,” said Jordan Goodman, Founder and CEO of Aquaview Fencing. “Our Water Safety Day event will be a fun and enjoyable way to learn how to enhance backyard pool safety and help stop drowning accidents.” “Parents are looking to help ensure their children’s safety any way they can,” added Goodman. “We have developed a product that can make the swimming season safer with an attractive enhancement for backyards.” In the state of California, pool owners can be held legally liable for water related injuries that occur on their property if safety code compliant barriers are not in place. Glass pool fences are a modern design solution that enhance safety, decrease liability, and maintain architectural aesthetic on commercial and residential properties. As the industry leader in frameless glass systems, Aquaview Fencing is committed to advocating for water safety education and preventing accidental drowning deaths in Southern California. For more information please visit...
Mauritius WaterWise 400 (Tamarin Village)

Mauritius WaterWise 400 (Tamarin Village)

Mauritius is a small island nation off the coast of Southeast Africa, just past Madagascar.  Surrounded by water and with a population of over 1.2M, water safety is of utmost importance. Viraj Ramharai, Lifesaving Trainer and WATERWISE Educator, has consistently led the charge against drowning in Mauritius and Rodrigues.  Viraj and Mauritius celebrated International Water Safety Day last year by gathering school children on the beach and teaching them 10 Water Safety Rules and practicing lifesaving drills. Recently, Viraj has implemented the National Sea Rescue Institute‘s WATERWISE program.  The WATERWISE program is the NSRI’s educational initiative with a vision to proactively prevent drowning tragedies.  Using the acronym PLAN (Prepare, Look, Ask, Never) they gave them the do’s and don’ts of basic water safety education. One youth leader with one vision trains 25 youth leaders to reduce drowning in their village.  After the youth training, they went door-to-door to spread drowning awareness, flood preparedness, and water safety tips.  They went to individual homes and shops, introduced themselves, and provided some very helpful water safety information!  Over 400 people were reached in their home village of Tamarin including Mr. Rajesh Cooshna, President of Village Council. Viraj wishes to express a special thanks to Mr. Peter Bacon, the former Chairman of the NSRI, who was critical to the implementation of the WaterWise program in Mauritius.  Also, heartfelt gratitude to the Tamarin Youth Centre’s Mr. Steve Gungadeen and Ms. Deepa Boodhoo for helping organize this campaign.  Last but not least, many thanks to Mr. Roobun Marimootoo who was a big help in the WaterWise...
“A Chance for Children”

“A Chance for Children”

Children’s Book by Dr. Avramidis inspired by the Creator of Baywatch   Greece, April 23, 2016: “A Chance for Children” (ACFC) is the name of the new children’s book and program that may be used internationally during the International Water Safety Day, created by Dr Stathis Avramidis and inspired by true events from the life of Greg Bonann and Tai Collins, the creator and screen-writer respectively of Baywatch.   THE REAL ACFC In 1992, Greg Bonann, Gold Medallion recipient by the International Swimming Hall of Fame who is best known by his world success TV series “Baywatch”, co-founded “Camp Baywatch” to help inner-city children have a second chance in life. His efforts would not be possible if Tai Collins, screen-writer of Baywatch and a very decorated person, would not have added her long experience in similar missions. When the TV series “Baywatch” ended, there was a need to change the name to reflect more on the work that this camp did to children. Thus, “A Chance for Children Foundation” was born. Until today, it continues to help thousands of children in USA and other countries.   THE AUTHOR In 2009 and in 2012, Dr. Stathis Avramidis from Greece, was honored by the International Swimming Hall of Fame, “for his outstanding contributions to lifeguarding and water safety worldwide“. Avramidis is one of the most dedicated and decorated water safety advocates and one of the most prolific authors in the world. His constant and warm communication with Bonann since 2010, inspired Stathi to adapt a fairy tale book that had started a little while after the establishment of “Camp Baywatch”, while...