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.

Aquatics Safety Research Group Releases Newest Lifeguard Video: shows why Lifeguards Can’t See – Visually and Mentally

Lifeguards, parents, and other human supervisors continue to miss drowning victims in the water. Who is to blame – Lifeguards? Parents? From decades of drowning prevention research and experience, the new Complex Quadriplex of Lifeguard Blindness video reveals a  hidden culprit – the perils of human sight and cognition.  

 Aquatic Safety Research Group’s brand new Lifeguard Blindness educational video illustrates the four most significant challenges that lifeguards and other supervisors face around the water. More significantly, this video provides strategies to strengthen supervision and supplement supervision with simple and affordable lifesaving strategies.

The four challenges presented include external distractions, internal noise, cognitive body blindness, and perceptual body blindness. Learning about these hidden lifeguard “blindfolds” will raise awareness of these challenges, saving lives in, on, and around the water. This 27 minute video is perfect for lifeguard in-service training and can be viewed one section at time - a must see video for every lifeguard!

The new CQLB – Complex Quadriplex of Lifeguard Blindness video is available with a limited pre-order special at or streaming on demand for 6-month rental or purchase at

and for more information contact
Rachel Griffiths at [email protected]

Sarasota Aquatics Center Releases Statement After Drowning Incident

The Selby Aquatic Center released a statement in regards Ramsdens’ death: 

“Every year for the last seventy years, thousands have arrived at our YMCA and our expectations were that they would have a wonderful experience during their stay.

Unfortunately, there was an aquatic emergency Saturday at the Evalyn Sadlier Jones YMCA Branch Pool and a 21-year-old guest passed away after being extracted from the pool by our lifeguards.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to this man’s family at this time. This event is nearly impossible to comprehend, and he and his family are in our hearts.

It is important for all to know that, as is our custom, we are immediately launching an investigation into the incident and are cooperating with all local authorities in their investigations.

Out of respect for the family, we ask that you honor their privacy at this difficult time. Again, I’m sure you join us in offering your prayers to this man and his family.”


Rhonda Milner's Interview With ABC News: Elite Swimmer Tate Ramsden's Death Spotlights Dangers of ‘Shallow Water Blackout’

Tate Ramsden via ABC News

Tate Ramsden via ABC News


The death of an elite college swimmer has drawn attention to a dangerous condition called "shallow water blackout," which can threaten even the most skilled swimmers.

Tate Ramsden, 21, died this week while doing laps at a YMCA in Sarasota, Florida, according to a police report. Despite being a member of the Dartmouth swim team, Ramsden had to be pulled from the pool by lifeguards who attempted to save his life.

The student had already swum 4,000 yards when he attempted to swim four additional laps without taking a single breath, police said. Competitive swimmers train to take a minimal number of breaths in order to swim faster.

But such training without breathing can lead to a dangerous condition called "shallow water blackout."

It can occur when swimmers hold their breath until they blackout, after which the body forces a breath and inhales water. The severe lack of oxygen can lead people to blackout "without warning" so they don't surface for air before becoming incapacitated, according to the Shallow Water Blackout Prevention Organization.

Dr. Rhonda Milner, a retired radiologist and founder of the organization, said it's key for advanced swimmers to understand that extreme training can be dangerous without proper supervision.

"It's another tragic event; it's completely preventable," Milner told ABC News today. "One of my current concerns, he was an excellent swimmer; he didn't understand that he was putting himself at risk."

Milner pointed out that if swimmers hyperventilate before breathing, their bodies may not build up the carbon dioxide that signals the body to take a breath, meaning they can pass out before they realize there's a problem.

The same problem can occur if a swimmer works out with few breaths, leading to insufficient oxygen levels.

"You can ignore your urge to breathe; you get endorphins," like a runner's high, Milner said. "You're set up for really putting yourself at risk."

Milner, who started the foundation after her son died from a shallow water blackout-related drowning, said coaches must warn swimmers to be careful about trying to hold their breath for extended periods of time and not rely on lifeguards, who may not be used to seeing such cases.

"It should only be done in practice where they're really closely watched," Milner said.

Ramsden's family released a statement mourning the young swimmer.

"His capacity for love for his family and friends was his great gift,” they said, “and we truly cherished every moment we shared together.”

To view original article click here.

Dartmouth Swimmer Drowns, likely shallow water blackout

Tate Ramsden, Dartmouth

Tate Ramsden, Dartmouth

via NBC News

A Dartmouth College swimmer died after trying to swim four laps underwater without breathing while on vacation in Florida, authorities said Monday.

The Sarasota County Sheriff's office said Tate Ramsden, 21, was in the area with his family and had gone to the YMCA Selby Aquatic Center to swim laps on Dec. 26.

Ramsden swam around 4,000 yards — over two and a quarter miles — before attempting an underwater swimming technique called a "100," which is four laps across the pool without coming up for air, according to a sheriff's office incident report released Monday.

During this routine, his sister and cousin noticed a "lack of movement" by Ramsden and he was pulled from the water. He was given CPR and paramedics were called, but attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful and the 21-year-old was declared dead at the scene.

The sheriff's office said his death was a "possible drowning" but an autopsy was pending.

Dartmouth College President Phil Hanlon said Ramsden — part of the Class of 2017 — was a member of the swim team, the diving team and the Beta Alpha Omega fraternity at the New Hampshire school.

"We have been in touch with Tate's family to share our deepest sympathies with them at this time of heartbreaking loss," he said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with Tate's family and friends at this time of great sadness." 

Incident Details via Good Morning America