Skip to main content

Wisconsin Parent

Water Safety: Learning the Survivor's Float

Jun 24, 2014 11:39AM, Published by Brooke McGee, Categories: Fitness



Emergencies can, and do, happen regularly. If we are fortunate, we are the one reading about it in the paper or seeing it on the television. We normally feel bad, or horrified, for who it happened to. Sometimes, we may even judge. Yes, I said that—we judge. We wonder how could that have happened? How on earth, could an individual have not taken more preventative measures? How could that… just… happen? Really? This is what is called an EMERGENCY.

Fortunately there are SOME things that are under our control. Preparation, for example. Even school districts take the time to prepare for “Emergency Alerts.” There are many kinds—tornado drills, fire drills, (what my family calls “bad guy "drills.) With warmer weather (finally) upon us, there’s another type of lesson that can literally be the difference between life and death for a member of your family—knowing how to survive in the water.

Now I’m not talking “Have you taken swimming lessons?” I’m talking “You are in the middle of the lake, screaming, no one can hear you, your clothes are dragging you down, you’re so exhausted you can’t scream anymore, fight for your life” swimming. None of us ever want our child to be “that statistic,” but as we all know that it happens. And in Wisconsin, in the summer, it devastates more families that we should ever have to recall.

Some (many, actually) children cannot swim. Some adults too. (I’m in that club so don’t feel bad!) Despite this, there are very basic instructions that can and SHOULD be taught to children of all ages. I say all because I highly doubt there are many of us who can count on one hand the number of families we know who NEVER go to the beach, or the pool, or kayaking.

Rescue FloatA few, very basic basic, lifesaving techniques is called the back float. It different from the Survivor’s Float (also called the Dead Man’s Float) because you are not face down in the water. For children or those who cannot swim, this is much less intimidating.

Like I mentioned, it’s called an emergency because you never see it coming. It hits you in the head like a 2X4 and you’re stunned, wondering… HUH?

Editor's Note: We nearly lost Brooke earlier this month when she found herself in the middle of Devil's Lake without any kind of flotation device. Not knowing how to swim, Brooke floated on her back for nearly thirty minutes until she was rescued by two men in a fishing boat. Even if your children are confident swimmers, we strongly recommend practicing the emergency float the next time you are at the beach or in a pool. Wearing a correctly sized life jacket is also always a good idea.

IMG_7389




survivor's float swimming water safety


  • Cooking Demonstration

    07/23/2017
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    We invite you who are interested in a cooking demonstration to Piggly Wiggly in Beaver Dam on Sun...


  • Walldogs Mural Walk

    07/24/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Beaver Dam community is all pitching in to revive the downtown in order to create a vibrant s...


  • Mom's Unite Evening Meet Up

    07/25/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Join us for a Mom's Group! Bring your kids or bring yourself! The choice is yours! Our Mom's g...


  • Mom's Unite Morning Meet Up

    07/26/2017
    08:30AM — 09:30AM

    Join us for a Mom's Group! Bring your kids or bring yourself! The choice is yours! Our Mom's g...


  • Native Prairie Plants and Seed Bombs

    07/26/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Learn about native Wisconsin prairie plants from Elizabeth Herzmann, WI Department of Natural Re...


  • Kids From Wisconsin

    07/26/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Kids from Wisconsin are back at the Schauer for their 49th show season! Sit back, buckle up, ...


  • Restless Heart

    07/26/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Playing a pop-friendly brand of country-rock indebted to The Eagles, Restless Heart was one of th...


  • Junior Archaeologists Day Camp

    07/27/2017
    09:00AM — 02:00PM

    Uncover Wisconsin’s ancient history! We will see artifacts thousands of years old and make some a...


  • Adventure Kids

    07/27/2017
    09:30AM — 11:00AM

    Drop the kiddos off to a morning of ADVENTURE! Adventure Kids includes Adventure, Crafts and Play...


  • Mom's Unite Active Play Meet Up

    07/27/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Join us for a Mom's Group! Bring your kids or bring yourself! The choice is yours! Our Mom's g...


  • Bike Night at the Library

    07/27/2017
    06:00PM — 07:30PM

    Ride your bike to the library to see a Beaver Dam Police Department Bicycle up close, enter to wi...


  • Art and Chalk Fest 2017

    07/29/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Art and Chalk Fest 2017 Museum of Wisconsin Art Saturday and Sunday, July 29 and 30, 2017 | 10:...


  • Cooking Demonstration

    07/23/2017
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    We invite you who are interested in a cooking demonstration to Piggly Wiggly in Beaver Dam on Sun...


  • Walldogs Mural Walk

    07/24/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    The Beaver Dam community is all pitching in to revive the downtown in order to create a vibrant s...


  • Mom's Unite Evening Meet Up

    07/25/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Join us for a Mom's Group! Bring your kids or bring yourself! The choice is yours! Our Mom's g...


  • Mom's Unite Morning Meet Up

    07/26/2017
    08:30AM — 09:30AM

    Join us for a Mom's Group! Bring your kids or bring yourself! The choice is yours! Our Mom's g...


  • Native Prairie Plants and Seed Bombs

    07/26/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Learn about native Wisconsin prairie plants from Elizabeth Herzmann, WI Department of Natural Re...


  • Kids From Wisconsin

    07/26/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Kids from Wisconsin are back at the Schauer for their 49th show season! Sit back, buckle up, ...


  • Restless Heart

    07/26/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    Playing a pop-friendly brand of country-rock indebted to The Eagles, Restless Heart was one of th...


  • Junior Archaeologists Day Camp

    07/27/2017
    09:00AM — 02:00PM

    Uncover Wisconsin’s ancient history! We will see artifacts thousands of years old and make some a...


  • Adventure Kids

    07/27/2017
    09:30AM — 11:00AM

    Drop the kiddos off to a morning of ADVENTURE! Adventure Kids includes Adventure, Crafts and Play...


  • Mom's Unite Active Play Meet Up

    07/27/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Join us for a Mom's Group! Bring your kids or bring yourself! The choice is yours! Our Mom's g...


  • Bike Night at the Library

    07/27/2017
    06:00PM — 07:30PM

    Ride your bike to the library to see a Beaver Dam Police Department Bicycle up close, enter to wi...


  • Family Night - Humane Society Service Project

    07/28/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Join The Open Door Coffeehouse and Sara Karweick with Modern Woodman of America for a service pro...


  • Art and Chalk Fest 2017

    07/29/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Art and Chalk Fest 2017 Museum of Wisconsin Art Saturday and Sunday, July 29 and 30, 2017 | 10:...


  • Art and Chalk Fest 2017

    07/30/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Art and Chalk Fest 2017 Museum of Wisconsin Art Saturday and Sunday, July 29 and 30, 2017 | 10:...


  • Lumber Camp Life Day Camp

    08/02/2017
    09:00AM — 02:00PM

    Wear your flannel and come ready to explore Wisconsin’s lumber history. Learn the lingo -- are yo...


  • Senior Movie Matinee

    08/02/2017
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Introducing something new for our WISER friends (60 yrs +)! Every 1st Wednesday of every month, w...


  • Sharing the Love Back Community Event

    08/03/2017
    03:00PM — 09:00PM

    Modern Woodmen of America and Jimmy Johns are partnering to help New Beginnings Homeless Shelter ...


  • Beaver Dam's Corn Roast

    08/03/2017
    05:00PM — 08:30PM

    The Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce and Heiar Insurance and Estate Planning invite the public to c...


  • EARTHcamp - Big Blue Planet

    08/05/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    With this theme, campers will learn about recycling, water quality and conservation, wetland res...


  • Stop by DreamBank for a morning of family fun and flying objects! The Truly Remarkable Loon will ...


  • Saturday Science at Discovery

    08/05/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Discover how life is connected to the sun during this free event held on the first Saturday of ev...


  • FAMILY EVENT: Morning Play Date

    08/10/2017
    10:00AM — 11:00AM

    Spend a morning meeting new friends at DreamBank. While the kids enjoy interactive story time and...


  • Books & Beer Columbus

    08/10/2017
    07:00PM — 08:00PM

    Join us as we talk with author Shannon Henry Kleiber about her biography of the founder of the Gi...


  • 9 Hole Golf — 4 person scramble with goofy golf! Raffles, silent auction, and more! Cost -...


  • INTO THE WOODS Directed by Ryan Madala-Klug Summer Main Stage Musical! Show Dates: $ A S...


  • FAMILY EVENT: Kids Boxing with Canvas Club

    08/12/2017
    09:30AM — 12:00PM

    Come glove up at DreamBank! Coaches Leo and Melissa of Canvas Club will be teaching jabs, hooks, ...


  • INTO THE WOODS Directed by Ryan Madala-Klug Summer Main Stage Musical! Show Dates: $ A S...


  • INTO THE WOODS Directed by Ryan Madala-Klug Summer Main Stage Musical! Show Dates: $ A S...



Special Thanks to These Relaunch Partners


Woodman's Markets - Employee Owned
Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau