How to Survive Being Tied Up Underwater

What’s even more vital to the human body than food and water? Air. Guess you should’ve thought about that before getting involved with the mob. They’re mad. And you’re about to go from sleeping in satin sheets to sleeping with the fishes.

If you’re an average person, you can probably hold your breath comfortably for an average of about 30 seconds, or a maximum of two minutes. Some deep sea divers can hold their breath for over 20 minutes. However, as a diver’s body is deprived of the oxygen it so desperately needs, chances are the diver will begin to experience painful spasms. But we’ll get to that a bit later. What do dolphins have to do with your survival? What makes Navy SEALs drownproof? How can you increase your chances of floating in the water?

If you’re lucky, the water is not that deep, but you will need to figure a way out of your predicament. Sure you’ll need to hold your breath for a long period of time, but that can be risky. Other than depriving your brain of critically needed air, the carbon dioxide stored in your blood that would be exhaled can build up in muscles, causing spasms and making breathing painful when you come up to the surface. To be clear, being submerged in water for as little as four to six minutes, you could suffer from brain damage and any longer than that, you will die from drowning.

What can you do to survive?

Step 1. Stay Calm

Panicking is the absolute worst thing that you can do. Your heartrate will increase, causing your body to rapidly use up the limited oxygen you have. There’s another good reason to get zen, and not thrash around. You don’t want the bad guys, that want you dead, sticking around to make sure you drown. Try to think slowly and calmly, focusing on how to get to the surface.

Step 2. Tense Up

If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being tied up, remember to spread your fingers apart and tense your muscles to make them bigger, as Navy SEALs are trained to do. Perhaps this is what happened in 2014, when a Philadelphia man survived being blindfolded, bound and thrown into the Schuylkill River. The man, found wearing only his underwear, claimed he was thrown into the water by his abductors, but was able to swim to shore.

The two other men he was with were not as fortunate. So perhaps he was smart enough to spread his fingers and flex his muscles before he was tied up. This tactic creates a little extra room, making it easier to wiggle out of your bonds. You can also put your toes together and spread your heels apart to make a little slack in the rope or tape.

Step 3. Take a Breath

Before you hit the water, it’s important to fill your lungs with as much air as possible. This will help you to live longer, and increase your buoyancy, helping you float back to the surface.

Step 4. Dolphin Kick

You don’t need a dolphin to survive, but it does help to move like one. It is possible to swim with your arms and legs bound using a so-called dolphin kick. To do the dolphin kick, kick the bottom of your legs, below your knees, to propel yourself through the water. This will help you get away from your abductors, and head toward land.

Step 5. Face Up

Even if your mouth is bound, floating face up will allow air through your nose and buy some time. Breathing through the nose also warms the air slightly, which can help preserve body temperature and delay hypothermia. And it helps to keep your ears underwater. The air trapped in them will help you float. And, let’s face it, right now you’d like all the help you can get. Hopefully, a passing boat will notice you.

Ideally, you’ve been thrown into a lake instead of an ocean, so you don’t have to worry about any great whites. But if you are thrown into the ocean, in shark-infested waters, you can learn how to handle it, right here on How to Survive.

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