Respect the Water: Your perfect getaway

This simple, short exercise gives the students an idea of the lifesaving differences between fighting against cold water and floating to live.
  • 20 minutes
  • Optional: white board pens
  • Stop and think
  • Float

In this exercise you’ll help the children imagine their perfect getaway by the water, before they face the possibility of accidentally falling in, and decide what they would do next.

The average temperature of British and Irish coastal waters is 12-15ºC, cold enough to cause cold water shock.

When people fall into cold water unexpectedly, their instincts tell them to swim hard and fight against it. But when people fight it, chances are, they’ll drown. Instead, they should fight their instincts, not the water, and remember to float - for just a short time, until they can regain control of their breathing.

Help save lives. Find out how to float to live.

What to do next

Respect the Water: Fight or float?
Could you survive in cold water video still
5 mins
Respect the Water: Fight or float?
Read more
Arrange a presentation
RNLI education presenter Jon Yabbesley with pupils at Pucklechurch Primary School in Bristol.
Arrange a presentation
Read more
Lower secondary: age 11-14
Young people learning about water safety from an RNLI education volunteer
Lower secondary: age 11-14
Read more
Upper secondary: age 14-18
Students from Hopwood Hall College visit Blackpool RNLI
Upper secondary: age 14-18
Read more