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Active Drowning



Someone who is actively drowning is struggling to keep themselves above the water and have a distinctive body and arm position. They are doing this to try to keep their mouth above the water, so they don’t inhale any water. These behaviors can be called the instinctive drowning response. Once a lifeguard recognizes that somebody is actively drowning then it is their duty to perform a suitable rescue. Some victims that are actively drowning can have trouble calling for help because they are tired from trying to stay above the water or are too frightened to call out. Other victims can be faced down trying to lift their head out of the water from the sides of their body or in front of them by trying to reach for something to grab on to, these victims are usually infants or the elderly. Victims usually don’t make any forward progress when drowning so if they are paddling and not moving, then they are probably starting the active drowning process.

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