drowning awarness

New Research Shows Hyperventilation Not Necessary for SWB to Occur

On March 22, 2017, The Inertia published an article detailing new research that indicates hyperventilation is NOT necessary for SWB to occur.  You can read this informative article here.

The aquatics experts here at Shallow Water Blackout Prevention are very pleased to learn this (much needed) research is taking place.  Dr. Rhonda Milner, Founder and Chairman of SWBP, commented on the article, saying this:

Thank you, Phil for a great and enlightening article. Thank you Dr. Merritt for your research at VitalityPro. This explains why we at Shallow Water Blackout Prevention have said all along, blackouts do and can occur without hyperventilation.

This means that O2 depletion is as important as abnormally lowering CO2 levels with hyperventilation leading to SWB. That is why multiple, repetitive breath-holding laps are so dangerous. O2 levels can get so depleted, when not allowed a chance to be fully restored, that a person blacks out before they have CO2 levels high enough to signal them to breathe.

We have also found that a determined person can ignore his urge to breathe finding the urge to breathe temporarily subsiding. I would love to see research on the explanation and physiology of the observation. I suspect endorphins are released giving a feeling of euphoria. This all supports why multiple, repetitive, competitive breath-holding laps with hyperventilation are a lethal combination. Hence, the two Navy SEALs that died a few years ago in the base pool in Norfolk, VA while competing against each other doing breath-holding laps.

It looks like the pulmonary training program at VitalityPro is aerobically based which we have supported as how to best build and strengthen lung capacity with wind sprints, and so on. Hypoxic training underwater anaerobically is dangerous and can lead to blackout without warning. And, it certainly should never be performed without close supervision. As stated earlier, this research is so important because it proves that SWB is not only caused from hyperventilation, but from O2 depletion and inadequate restoration of O2 levels. It also gives further explanation for the cause of surface blackouts when free diving, besides redistribution of blood flow secondary to pulmonary pressure gradient changes.

I am so glad VitalityPro is doing this needed research on the physiology and causes of SWB. This is what we have so needed. Kudos to all involved at VitalityPro. Thank you, Dr. Frank Merritt for your research and as founder of VitalityPro, Brandon Rager as director of VitalityPro, and Phil White at theinertia.com for this article. We would love to add this article to our website and stay in touch with VitalityPro and their active research. Also, great chart illustration!

Thank you!
Rhonda Milner, MD
Founder and Chairman, Shallow Water Blackout Prevention

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 aquaticsafetygroup.com or streaming on demand for 6-month rental or purchase at https://vimeo.com/ondemand/cqlb

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

Drowning Deaths of Two Navy SEALs Were Due to Shallow Water Blackout

Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Brett Allen Marihugh, 34, of Livonia died April 24,2015.  A group of trainees found him and Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Seth Cody Lewis of Queens, New York, at the bottom of a combat training pool. Lewis also died.

Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Brett Allen Marihugh, 34, of Livonia died April 24,2015.  A group of trainees found him and Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Seth Cody Lewis of Queens, New York, at the bottom of a combat training pool. Lewis also died.

The Detroit News has obtained a copy of the results of the Navy's formal investigation of the drownings of two Navy SEAL's at a naval training facility in Virginia this past April.

Please view their informative article about the results of the investigation here

Highlights include:

- Cause of deaths have been ruled as shallow water blackout

- The Navy will now require a lifeguard or first-class swimmer to be present on deck at Naval Special Warfare pools for all conditioning swims other than laps. 

- Signs will be posted in pool facilities expressly prohibiting breath-holding.

- Rear Admiral B.L. Losey, commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, has ordered a review of all training requiring breath-holding for compliance with safety standards, and for inspections at pool facilities to ensure the proper posting of emergency-response plans and equipment.

- Technically they were abiding by the "two man rule" so their deaths were not due to misconduct, as ruled by the Navy.

“Our commitment to be the best and push ourselves to ever higher levels of proficiency must be tempered by safety compliance that is often learned from a past tragedy like this one,” Rear Admiral B.L. Losey, commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command, wrote in an Aug. 14 letter accompanying the investigation. “Overconfidence is an ever-present risk factor.”

Our deepest condolences to the families of these true American heroes.  

Proposed Regulation for Pool Signage in NYC

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has published a draft regulation that would require all swimming pool operators in NYC to post a sign with a specific image alerting swimmers that underwater breath-holding is dangerous and prohibited.

The department is accepting comments on the proposed regulation
until November 24, 2015, and welcomes our input.

Please click on the link below to comment on the proposed
regulation and show YOUR support.
Lives will be saved!


View more details about the proposed regulation here.