• You could drown from automatic gasping and hyperventilation. It only takes 1.5l of fluid to drown; a single gasp can easily take in 2l.
• You could suffer a cardiac arrest or a stroke.
To survive, try to stay calm and keep as still as you can – movement in water accelerates loss of body heat. Then you’ll soon regain breathing control.
• You’ll lose the use of your hands, so you can’t fire flares or operate a hand-held VHF any more.
• You’ll shiver intensely and have cramps. Within 10-20 minutes, even capable swimmers start to struggle.
Act quickly – once the gasping stops, call for help before you lose the use of your hands.
• Hypothermia starts to set in.
• You’ll become incapacitated.
• Your heart could stop.
Only a lifejacket (with crotch straps) will keep your head above water.
• If you’ve called for help, rescuers will be on their way.
Keep fighting for survival. Don’t relax, even when you’re being helped by rescuers.