Going into deep water is a last resort; you must be a competent swimmer and able to quickly judge the distance you’ll have to swim, the victim’s weight, and the water conditions (how cold or rough). If you think that any of these will overwhelm you, don’t attempt a swimming rescue. Send or go for help; mark your position on the beach with bright clothing.
If you must swim out, bring an object for towing the victim, either a flotation support or a piece of clothing. As you approach, keep the towing device between you and the victim. Tow him to safety using a scissors kick or a back frog kick with a single-arm stroke. If he panics and tries to grab you, release the support and back off. Reassure him; then reapproach him.
Tow an unconscious victim by the chin. Roll him onto his back, cup your hand under his chin, and keep his head above water. Ashore administer artificial respiration (see CPR).
If you have no towing device and you’re sure you can control the victim, approach him from behind, pause about 6 feet away, and do a quick reverse:push your hands forward and, as your head and shoulders move back, thrust your legs toward the victim. In this postion, scull toward the victim. Reach over and cup his chin with your left hand (if you are right-handed). Pull his head against your arm; press your left arm against his spine to level him off. With your right ann, reach over his right shoulder and across his chest; clasp him under his left ann. His shoulder should be in your armpit. Hold him tightly to your side, with your hip in the small of his back. Tow him, using a scissors kick and a single-arm stroke.
If a panicking victim tries to grab you, put your hand or foot in the center of his chest and push away. Thereare a number of release methods enabling the rescuer to escape a victim’s grasp. Learn these in a certified lifesaving program.