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Royal National Lifeboat Institute


Cold water shock takes over your body’s ability to swim - like attempting to swim while being tied up.

Cold water shock disables your ability to swim. Stop thrashing around and set yourself free by floating.


A male falls into the water. He becomes tied up, bound and muzzled on impact with water. He’s helpless and desperately thrashing around in an attempt to set himself free. As he stops and begins to float, he is freed.

TV script 

You might be the best swimmer in the county

But, the moment you reach the cold water, your ability won’t matter.

Because cold water shock happens instantly. 

You’re stunned.

You’re breathing in water.

You’re helpless.

You’d never think cold water could do this to you

It kills even the strongest swimmers.

Skill won’t save you, but floating will.

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