University of PortsmouthFloat To Live: How To Stop Drowning

Float To Live: How To Stop Drowning

Each day, more than 1,000 lives are lost by drowning – but that number doesn’t include unrecorded drownings in low and middle-income countries. The real figure could be as high as 1.2 million deaths per year, with 25% of those deaths being children.

But now, thanks to research by the University’s Professor of Human and Applied Physiology, Professor Mike Tipton MBE, countless lives could be saved each year.

Since the Titanic sank in 1912, hypothermia had been viewed as the main danger facing anyone who finds themselves in cold water.

But Professor Tipton’s research in our Extreme Environments Laboratory has revealed the main problem is actually cold shock – which peaks in water temperatures between 10-15⁰C. The average temperature of UK and Irish waters is 12⁰C.

His research also revealed a startling method to improve your chances of survival: simply turn on your back, float and relax.

Mike says: “When you fall into cold water, it quickly cools your skin. This reduces skin blood flow, and increases your heart rate, blood pressure and the strain placed on your heart.

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