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  • Heather Murray

Sunday Survival Story: It Can Happen to Anyone

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

Parents Preventing Childhood Drowning Presents: Sunday Survival Stories: It Can Happen to Anyone

Every Sunday, we will share a story of a non-fatal drowning, discuss where things went wrong, and give some pointers on how to prevent it from happening to the people you love. Thankfully, these stories have happy endings for those involved, but sadly, we lose too many people to drowning every year. We hope examining these real-life stories help put the dangers of water into perspective and help you introduce various principles of water safety to your family!

Today’s story is a near-drowning that happened to an off-duty captain of the local sheriff’s office. At 56 years old, Robbie Hayden left for a day of fishing with lots of experience and knowledge. Even though he felt prepared for the day, he soon found himself in the position of needing saved.

First, we would like to acknowledge that Robbie sounds like he did a lot of really great things, but some water safety factors just slipped out of his hands and quickly led from a relaxing day of fishing to a moment of almost tragedy. Robbie was visiting open water that he was familiar with, he has been fishing for many years, and he has experience with boats. He knew he needed his life jacket, but it sounds like he wasn’t wearing it in the moment of need. It is important to always wear your life jacket the entire time you are on the water, even in a watercraft. Do not assume that you will have time to put it on when you need it. Once he was projected from his boat, Robbie was able to keep his cool and instead of panicking, he was able to acknowledge that it would be too dangerous to try to swim back to his boat for re-entry. Robbie tried hard to tread water, and this exhausted his body. He knew he needed to head towards some trees to help him stay afloat. If you ever need a break while swimming, you should float on your back until you can restore energy, then you can roll on your stomach and resume swimming.

Thankfully, Robbie’s life was saved by two people who happened to notice him struggling and came to his rescue. They even remark that it was hard to tell what was really going on, that Robbie was too tired to even raise his arms to call for help. This is a common misconception with drowning- that the victim will be able to alert you to the fact that they are drowning. Drowning is quick and drowning is silent. Please take time today to learn what drowning really looks like so you can recognize and react to the signs if you ever need to help in a drowning emergency.

This story really shows that drowning can happen to anyone at any time. Drowning does not discriminate. An adult with plenty of water knowledge and a career helping others. A lifejacket in the vicinity. A history of drowning in the family. No bad weather, no terrible decisions made. Every water story is different and needs to be evaluated on its own, even if you are returning to the same location you have visited before. Drowning can happen to Anyone. Be safe, have fun, and be ready!

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