Student Witnesses Shallow Water Blackout

Recently there was an incident of Shallow Water Blackout at a high school swim team practice, at the Benjamin Upper School in Palm Beach, Florida. Staff writer Robert Rubin tells his story on the

The North Palm Beach Pool, the site of Benjamin's swim practices. Photo Courtesy of NBP Pool.

The North Palm Beach Pool, the site of Benjamin's swim practices. Photo Courtesy of NBP Pool.


"Less than a week ago, I witnessed teammate have a shallow water blackout during swim practice. It was a very alarming and terrifying experience, but thanks to quick response by coaches, fellow swimmers, and first responders, the person who suffered the blackout survived without any permanent damage. However, …."

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We thank you, Robert, for helping to raise awareness and prevent more senseless tragedies.

US Coast Guard Warns Trainees of SWB

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

When speaking with ASTC  (Air Survival Technician Supervisor) Matthew Laub at the Coast Guard Air Station in Miami, we were pleased to learn that the trainers there are very aware of the dangers of shallow water blackout. Before each trainee begins training they must read and sign the form below. The form explains what SWB is and states that if the policy of no hyperventilating is violated the student will be removed from training.


We applaud the US Coast Guard for taking this step to prevent SWB and senseless tragedies!  This is another step in the right direction.

* Special thanks to ASTC Matthew Laub.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Tell Your Story, Win a $1000 Gift Certificate from Vasa

Coaches, we want to hear your stories!

Have you or someone you know experienced a shallow water blackout?  

Tell us your story and you will be entered to
win a $1000 gift certificate from Vasa.

Submit your story below, or email to [email protected]

Winner will be announced at the end of September, 2016.

(some restrictions apply)


Name *

SWBP at ASCA World Clinic

L-R: Britt Jackson, Terry Jackson, Isabelle Trogdon

L-R: Britt Jackson, Terry Jackson, Isabelle Trogdon

SWBP is thrilled to be part of the
2016 ASCA World Clinic in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  

Swim coaches from all over the world have stopped by our booth to share their stories about shallow water blackout and what they are doing to prevent it among their students and swim clubs.  We have received wonderful, positive feedback, and are excited to create new partnerships and connections with aquatics professionals from all corners of the earth.

If you are at the Clinic, don't forget to stop by to say
hello and give our prize wheel a spin!

Nuclear Plant Safety Group Welcomes SWBP

On Thursday, August 11th, a group of safety professionals at the Savannah River Site welcomed SWBP's Operations Manager, Britt Jackson, to their monthly safety awareness meeting.  Britt spoke to a group of over 100 safety professionals about the dangers of shallow water blackout and how it can be prevented.  SWBP would like to give special thanks to Barbara Paulos, co-chair of the safety committee, for being such a wonderful hostess.

If you would like a SWBP representative to speak to your group or committee, please contact us at [email protected]  We would love to speak with you!

Beloved Man Drowns While Spearfishing Off Florida Coast

On July 9, 2016, Ruben "Papa" Perez suffered a shallow water blackout while spearfishing off the coast of Florida.  His cousin, Amanda, contacted us today with his story.  Our thoughts and prayers are with Papa's family and friends during this time or mourning. We are devastated by this news.
For the official news report of this drowning please click here

Ruben "Papa" Perez

Ruben "Papa" Perez

Below is Papa's story, as told by his cousin, Amanda Balius:

Ruben "Papa" Perez
June 6, 1987-July 9, 2016
Play in the Sun, Love by the Moon

Ruben Anthony Perez, aka Papa, was a fish out of water. Since he was 9 months old he was always in the water whether swimming or fishing. He was an amazing human being, a selfless soul who loved to bring out the happiness in others. He lived his life humble and kind and always left an unforgettable impression unique laugh and tone of voice. On July 9th 2016 just ten days from marrying the love of his life Lindsey, Papa had a fatal diving accident which was the result of shallow water blackout. Our entire family is devastated and we continue to ask ourselves how this could of happened when papa was such a skilled swimmer/diver/spearman. After researching and watching videos, even the most skilled swimmer/diver/spearman can experience and ultimately die from what took our Papa. Like any other weekend, papa along with two other divers went spear fishing off of Elliot Key in Biscayne, Florida. Papa and a friend dove in together that morning while his father in law Mark stayed above the surface on the boat on July 9th. The two divers returned to the surface together, but there was a hogfish Papa just couldn't let get away and told Mark he'd be right back. That was the last Mark and his friend saw and heard from papa. Although we are grateful for all the help from the Coast guard and FWC who searched for Papa, Mark was the one that ultimately never gave up and finally found him. Without Mark, we wouldn't have our boy back and give him the proper services he deserved. It is so important that divers/spearman remember to stay in a group even if they want to go for one last dive. Had it not been for that last hogfish, maybe Papa would still be here with us today. No family should have to lay their loved ones to rest, especially so young with so much life still yet to live.

Ruben "papa" Perez is survived by his amazing mother Maggie, father Ruben, sister Madelin, brother Marcus, fiancé Lindsey and family and friends. We love you forever and always and will miss you until then we will meet you at the moon.

Please be safe, educate yourselves about swb, and never go back in alone. God bless you all and please pray for our family as well as the many others who have suffered such loss.

Thank you, Amanda Balius (cousin of Papa)

Photo courtesy of Amanda Balius

Photo courtesy of Amanda Balius

Rethinking Charity: Why should you donate to SWBP?

Activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta calls out the double standard that drives our broken relationship to charities. Too many nonprofits, he says, are rewarded for how little they spend — not for what they get done. Instead of equating frugality with morality, he asks us to start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments (even if that comes with big expenses). In this bold talk, he says: Let's change the way we think about changing the world. To view this great talk click here.

Young Boy Saves Teen From Shallow Water Blackout

Staff, swimmers at Palo Alto pool credited with saving teen's life.

Photo and article from Fox affiliate KTVU, Fox2

Photo and article from Fox affiliate KTVU, Fox2



PALO ALTO, Calif. (KTVU) - Staff and swimmers at a Palo Alto country club are being credited with saving the life of a 17-year old boy. They say he nearly drowned, after blacking out at swim practice.

Austin Chase wasn't breathing when staff members pulled him out of the pool. And while they had never dealt with anything quite like this before, they had trained for more

SWBP Recognized During Miami Heat Game

Right to left: Rhonda Milner, Dusty Milner, and Sheryl Woods, CEO of YMCA of South Florida

Right to left: Rhonda Milner, Dusty Milner, and Sheryl Woods, CEO of YMCA of South Florida

On April 5, 2016, the YMCA of South Florida joined with the Miami Heat to raise awareness about unintentional drownings due to shallow water blackout.  Rhonda and Dusty Milner (founders of Shallow Water Blackout Prevention) were recognized at center court for their hard work and dedication to raising awareness about the dangers of shallow water blackout.  The YMCA and US Coast Guard both warned of the dangers of breath-holding at a press conference, and recognized our non-profit organization and the story of losing Whitner to SWB.  They also provided information to viewers on how to find our website for more information on SWB. This part of Florida has the most drownings per year in the entire U.S. so we greatly appreciate the YMCA,  the Miami Heat and the US Coast Guard for helping to save lives. 

Special thanks to Todd Lutes of the US Coast Guard, and Sheryl Wood, CEO of the YMCA South Florida.