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I made a new acquaintance last week when I visited Ekiti state. At the end of our first conversation, we exchanged e-books. I gave her lots of business and management books, while she pumped me with a couple of novels – ‘light romance’, she calls them. That same day, I put aside Jack Welch’s ‘Winning’ and began Sydney Sheldon’s ‘If Tomorrow Comes’. It has been a fine story, though I must say it has robbed me of my management reads.

Today, in order to keep up with my safety blog posts, I began thinking about an interesting topic to write on. I settled for Personal Water Survival Skills because yesterday night in Sheldon’s book Tracy was granted pardon from prison because she almost drowned.
So let’s talk water survival skills, in case you will need to leave ‘prison’ not by almost drowning but by keeping afloat. Buzz me if you need Sheldon’s or Welch’s book.

From my studies about water survival skills, I made the following conclusions:

  • Stay out of water if you cannot swim
  •  Learn how to swim if you must near water. Swimming skill is an important lifesaving skill. It is worth the time and resource investment – you will save yourself and others
  • Make sure you put on a life jacket anytime you travel on water or have cause to work in water areas

    Life jacket (
    Life Jacket (from
  • Do not panic. Panic is the single thing that makes all the tips about water survival impossible to apply. Things like ‘blow air into your shirt to inflate it’, ‘use survival floating by putting your face in water’ are impossible.
  • Remove any clothes and shoes that drag you down
  • Hang on to any floatable object at reach such as the capsized boat, or other objects from the wreck

On the whole, my advice is that we should learn how to swim. Maybe it should be taught in primary school – swimming is as basic as walking – someday, somehow every one of us have contact with water bodies.

The following tips about what to do when trapped in a submerged vehicle caught my attention

  • A vehicle will float for up to 45 seconds after it enters water. During this short time one should exit immediately. But you know 45 seconds is too small. So I rather that you use the second option below. Except the car sinks slower than that and does not get to the window level immediately. Then one should exit through the window
  • If the vehicle begins to sink, move to the higher end to get air. Do not try to open the door to exit – if one does, water will rush in – wait till the vehicle is nearly full of water
  • Break a window and exit.

My thoughts however, is that we should drive as safely as possible and avoid flood zones.

For capsized boats, it is useful


  • When one has a life jacket on
  •  To hang on to the capsized boat if it is still floating in that overturned position. This will assist in keeping one floating.
  • If one can climb on top of the overturned boat where possible.
  • If one can right the boat and re-board it
  • To be careful around the boat’s propeller

Start your safety education today, obtain HSE 1 and 2 from University of Nigeria and SHELL Petroleum’s Center for Environmental Management and Control. It is completely online and flexible. See the introductory video.


Chinedu is passionate about occupational safety and health. He keeps following trends in industrial safety. Chinedu currently lives in Ikare-Akoko, Ondo State, Nigeria.

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    1. Thanks Damilola Adegoke. You can understand more about occupational safety by taking Our online HSE, it is flexible and cost effective.…

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