The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. 'I think he thinks you’re drowning,' the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. 'We’re fine, what is he doing?' she asked, a little annoyed. 'We’re fine!' the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. 'Move!' he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, 'Daddy!'

How did this captain know, from fifty feet away, what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten? Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television.

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning, Mario Vittone, 18 May 2010, mariovittone.com

A fascinating, and very important, article describing the "Instinctive Drowning Response" — something you definitely want to be looking out for wherever people are in the water, and especially when supervising children. I'm stunned by the number of comments to the article from trained lifeguards who didn't know this, let alone the general public.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] calcinations for the link

Edit: and the day after, an oddly appropriate lolcat appears...

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