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Page Title: Swimming
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and the third leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States. From 1987 to 1992, 42 percent of all Navy  people  killed  in  recreational  mishaps  died  from drowning. You can prevent drowning by knowing some common water-safety tips. Swimming About 45 percent of all drownings involve people falling in the water while walking on piers and bridges or  fishing  from  boats.  Many  victims  were  poor swimmers who lacked basic water skills. If you are going to spend time near the water, you should  know  how  to  swim.  Swimming  is  your  best defense against drowning. You should know how to swim even if you never expect to go in the water. You may someday have the opportunity to save a drowning person’s  life. Always swim with a friend. The buddy system saves lives. Swim only in designated areas. Undesignated swimming  areas  may  have  hidden  hazards  that  can  kill you. Teach your children how to swim. Drowning is the second  leading  cause  of  accidental  deaths  in  children. NEVER leave a child alone near a swimming pool or swimming area. Many parents think they can hear their child fall into a pool. They are wrong. Drowning is a silent killer. There is usually no loud splash or cry for help because the first gasp for air fills a child’s lungs with  water,  blocking  all  sound.  Child-proof  your  pool, Install  a  double  layer  of  protection  around  your  pool. Build a fence at fence five feet high around the pool with a self-closing, self-latching gate. Make sure the latch is out of children’s reach. You also can buy an electronic sensor that floats in the pool and sounds an alarm if something disturbs the water. Beware  of  cold  water.  Chances  of  survival  in 50-degree  water  are  only  50-50  if  you  are  exposed  for 50  minutes.  If  you  arc  alone,  usc  the  heat  escape lessening  position  (HELP).  To  do  that,  huddle  to conserve heat by crossing your arms and feet and pulling your  knees  up  (fig.    11-1).  You  can  die  from hypothermia, even if you fall into water as warm as 70 degrees, if you stay immersed long enough. If you have several people in the water, huddle together in a circle (fig. 11-2). For either of these techniques to be effective, you must be wearing an approved personal flotation device. Do not jump or dive into water that may be so cold it will numb your body. Instead, ease into the water Figure 11-1.—Heat escape lessening position (HELP). Figure 11-2.—Huddle position gradually. Cold water exhausts a swimmer faster than warm water. Do not swim long distances in cold water. Cold or tired muscles are susceptible to cramps. To overcome a cramp, draw your knees toward your chest and massage your cramped foot or leg while moving it. You  should  be  in  a  “face  forward”  float  position  while doing that. Know and consider your swimming limitations. Do not swim when you are tired, overheated, or chilled. If you find yourself fatigued, you can find temporary relief by floating, treading water on your back, or varying the style of swimming.   If you find yourself in trouble, 11-4

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