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HomeNL-2018-02 15 Pounds

Can't Swim? Not To Worry - Drown Proof Yourself! (Part II)
Reprinted from November 1988
by Leonard Hulsebosch

The newsletter section of this web site contains 40 years of Houston Canoe Club newsletters. Amidst those many publications are buried a lot of gems of wisdom, that are still just as valid today as when they first appeared. The following article from 30-years ago is one of those gems.  

In the Pacific, a Navy seaman fell overboard far out at sea. For the better part of a week, he stayed afloat with no P.F.D. by using drown-proofing techniques. During the day, he tried to signal search teams until he was successful. He had never learned to swim a stroke beyond the basic drown-proofing technique taught by the Navy during his basic training.

Any person who can learn to be CALM can learn to drown-proof him/herself. Staying calm and using drown-proofing techniques are the keys to survival. Even if your body has no natural flotation (most people have at least some flotation, with the possible exception of hard-muscled jocks), you can learn to stay afloat with minimum effort for long periods of time.

The basic ingredients are calm, S-L-O-W motions. The object is to use as little energy as possible, and to waste no energy. 
Holding your 15-pound head above the water is unnecessary except for the few seconds every minute you need to take a breath. At first, using the technique, it is easy to panic and get a mouthful of water. But, you can finally become so proficient that you can run through the drown-proofing cycle in your sleep.

In Part III next month, we'll look at the six steps to drown-proofing yourself. Save these articles and use them as a guide to practice, but be sure you have a buddy or friend with you when you initially experiment, to help should you panic. For formal instructions, contact the Y.M.C.A., American Red Cross, or collegiate and professional swimming instructors. Remember, a lesson in the technique or even just one basic swimming lesson can be worth its weight in buoyancy.

Next month,Part III - The Six Steps of Drown-Proofing as taught by the Coast Guard and Navy in basic training.

The author, Leonard Hulsebosch