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Survival Swimming Skills

Japanese police statistics show that over 80% of people who drown are fully clothed, even good swimmers.

They were simply unprepared, never learned survival swimming skills to save themselves or practiced swimming in clothes. Japanese swimming lessons now make sure they learn this. Are you trained to survive?

What is survival swimming?

Survival swimming has been adapted for civilian use from tough military ROTC training. During lessons you learn to be prepared for dangerous situations in open water. Training exercises simulate real emergencies and teach how to deal with them. This can be quite tough at times. Are you going to save yourself so you can rescue someone else?

Who is survival swimming for?

Do you work in a marine environment? Do you intend to go out on adventures and want to learn survival techniques in the water? Are you ready to get started with an intense training in the pool? Then survival swimming is for you.

Learn Survival Swimming before Lifesaving

Survival swimming comes before lifesaving skills. There is no point in attempting a rescue and then add yourself to the casualty list because you couldn't cope. When you go on outdoor adventures it is essential that you know how to handle any situations that may arise, enable you to perform an effective self rescue and live to tell the story. The objective is to be able to swim and survive in any condition, even fully clothed.

Teaching Survival Swimming

Teaching survival skills is important, but often neglected or ignored by leisure centres or swimming clubs. Yet this skill may save your life one day. Over 80% of drowning victims didn't learn survival swimming to save themselves.

The main goal of our programme is to teach you the basic requirements, so you pose no danger to yourself or your team during most operations in and around water. The objective is to be able to swim and survive in any condition, even fully clothed. You'll be able to survive in water for a prolonged period, perform tasks and negotiate obstacles while in the water.

Swimmers who complete the entire programme should know how to do at least the following actions:

  • Use personal safety and water survival techniques.
  • Assist other swimmers in difficulty.
  • Swim fully clothed underwater.
  • Maintain buoyancy in full gear.

It is unrealistic to expect that everyone will be a proficient swimmer. However, they can be trained to participate safely in lifesaving and survival training conducted in aquatic environments.

Survival swimming lessons are fun for both students and teacher, as they are much more varied than swimming up and down all the time. Use inflatable boats, rescue ropes and other accessories to enhance the lessons. Ongoing training for advanced survival swimmers includes resistance swimming, endurance training and boat handling.

Promote survival swimming in the pools and in the local area to increase swimmer numbers. Develop creative and innovative classes following our survival swimming programme. Deliver great customer service by providing personal attention and care to all swimmers.

Learn Survival Swimming in Clothes

This may be an obvious training element, but is often ignored by many swimming clubs. It is usually one of the most popular sessions among advanced swim teams, intended for competent swimmers. If regularly practised it adds variety and fun.

Be it sailing, canoeing, kite surfing or adventure racing, you wouldn't do it only in swim briefs or bikini. Swimming in clothes is an essential skill for most water sports because a good soaking is often part of their appeal.

When your boat capsizes, or you fall in, or you decide to go for a spontaneous swim, voluntarily or not, you want to be prepared. While safety precautions should be taken, the nature of adventure sports recommends that you wear attire that reduces the possibility of mishap.

The teacher leads by example and demonstrates how different clothes influence your swimming ability. You'll learn how heavy wet clothes really get and how that affects your swimming skills, a key to aquatic survival. The more clothing layers you wear in the water, the harder your training gets. This adds realism, builds strength, and prepares you for an actual emergency situation.

Refine Your Skills

Survival swimming is different from the usual swimming lessons and not a replacement for them. You'll learn the essentials needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water, an important first step to being safe around water.

This lesson is a good opportunity to refine your swimming skills as you will quickly feel the difference. Bad swimming skills always show up quickly as the clothes put up some resistance and slow you right down. Only correct swimming skills will keep you going.

Practice all swimming strokes to build confidence. Continue adding more clothes until you can swim fully clothed in a competent, efficient manner. Eventually you can perform advanced skills and be extremely proficient at water survival.

Know Your Team

There are times during survival training when swimmers may need to negotiate water obstacles. Leaders at all levels should be aware of the potentially dangerous situation this presents for people who fear water or cannot swim well.

Team leaders are responsible for knowing the water survival ability level of each swimmer. This knowledge lets them assign responsibilities and take protective measures to ensure the safety of each swimmer.

Practice with each team member swimming in the pool. Start with light clothing, increase until fully clothed. Lead by example. Be in the pool with them and check their confidence.

Try out every outfit and combination you may want to use for your adventures at home in your bath or shower. See how heavy your clothes get when soaking wet. Can you still move around freely, or do your wet clothes get into the way?

Before you go out on any adventures, practice swimming in your adventure clothes in a swimming pool. This builds confidence and avoids later surprises. You may find swimming in all these clothes quite a challenge at first, but it will get easier with consistent training.

Qualified Lifeguards

Lifeguards should be present at all times during your lifesaving or survival swim training. They should have a current Lifeguard Training certificate (American Red Cross or equivalent) and must be certified in first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation).

Reader Comment

Water Safety

by Martina, visiting Osaka, Japan

As part of an exchange programme for swimming and lifesaving teachers I went to Osaka to observe and participate in their swimming classes.

This session was focused on water safety. The students had an opportunity to โ€˜fallโ€™ into the water with their clothes on. They were all so surprised at how much heavier they felt when they came out of the water.

Students were led through several different exercises including somersaults, back floats with life jackets on, and proper safety steps to take before you jump into the water.

It was a unique class that the students really enjoyed. We are halfway through our swimming classes and are already so impressed with the improvements in strength and confidence we are seeing in the students. Keep it up, lifesavers!

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