Learn how to inflate your clothes for water survival. Being stranded in the water and having to tread water to stay afloat expends precious energy. When you are wearing long clothes you can trap air inside them to help you float.
The information in this post is from the book “Swim Workouts and Water Rescue Skills” by Sam Fury.
How to Inflate Your Clothes for Water Survival
These methods work best with waterproof materials. For cotton clothing, keep the material that is out of the water wet to prevent air escaping.
Inflating Your Top
As you tread water (feet only), pull up your collar and bunch your shirt around your mouth to make a tight seal. Keep your nose out in the open.
Breathe in through your nose and exhale out your mouth into your shirt. Direct air into your shoulder area by leaning forward.
Inflating Your Trousers
If you cannot take your trousers off over your shoes, remove them. Tie the laces together, and then hang them around your neck.
Remove your pants, do the zip up, and tie the bottom of the trouser legs together.
Inflate your trouser legs using either the blow, sling, or splash method.
After inflating your pants keep the waistband underwater. Put your head between the legs and hug the pants with the fly facing your body. Fold or twist the waistband closed to create a seal.
Rest your head back on the knot and adopt the H.E.L.P. position until rescue arrives.
Keep the exposed material wet by splashing water on it.
When needed, open the waistband (while keeping it underwater) and scoop more air in.
This method is best for weak swimmers.
Hold the pants the right way up by the waistband, with the fly facing you.
Take a deep breath and go underwater with the pants. Blow air into them.
Keeping the pants underwater, take another breath and blow more air into them. Repeat this until they filled with air.
Hold the trousers behind your head by the waistband ensuring you keep it open.
Using a forceful motion, sling the pants over your head in front of you and into the water to fill them with air.
Hold the waistband open underwater with one hand, fly facing up and trousers on the surface. Use your other hand inside the waistband to scoop water and air bubbles into your trousers. Scoop fast.
The water will pass through leaving the air trapped.
Photo Credit: Sgt. Roberta A. Thompson.
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