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HELP position

If you cannot get out of the water quickly, act to protect against rapid heat loss. In as little as 10 minutes, you may be unable to self-rescue. Your focus now should be to slow heat loss.

  • Stay as motionless as possible, protecting the high heat loss areas of your body, and keep your head and neck out of the water.
  • Safety typically looks closer than it actually is, so staying with the boat is usually a better choice than swimming.
  • Adopt a position to reduce heat loss. If alone, use the Heat Escape Lessening Posture (HELP) position; or if there are others in the water with you, huddle together.
  • If you must swim, conserve energy and minimize movement. Swim on your back with your upper arms against the sides of your chest, your thighs together, and your knees bent. Flutter-kick with your lower legs.

Be prepared at all times to signal rescuers.