Float to live

Fight your instincts, not the water

Everyone who falls unexpectedly into cold water wants to follow the same instinct, to swim hard. But if you float until the cold water shock passes, you will have a better chance of survival.

  1. Step 1 - Fight your instinct to thrash around
  2. Step 3 - Lean back, extend your arms and legs
  3. Step 4 - If you need to, gently move them around to help you float
  4. Step 2 - Float until you can control your breathing
  5. Step 5 - Only then, call for help or swim to safety

What to do next

Swim to safety, call for help, or continue to float until help arrives

How does floating work?

Respect the Water is the RNLI’s national drowning prevention campaign. We highlight the risks you might encounter in or around the water, and give you advice to make sure you’re prepared if you get into trouble in the water.

5 steps to float

1. If you fall into water, fight your instinct to swim until the cold water shock passes

2. Lean back, extend your arms and legs

3. If you need to, gently move them around to help you float

4. Float until you can control your breathing

5. Only then, call for help or swim to safety

Prepare with practice

Being prepared helps improve your confidence when floating. Find your nearest pool and practise the technique so you're ready for anything.

GET INVOLVED

We can only spread the word, and save more lives, with you beside us.

Make a donation

If you see someone in trouble at the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard

Clothing can help you float

find out why

The dangers of cold water shock

The science behind floating