Shallow Water Blackout Symbol
CFMWS

Shallow Water Blackout Prevention

There are approximately 140,000 deaths annually to drowning worldwide. ​
It is estimated by a number of sources that SWB is responsible for up to 20% of all drownings. As well it is thought that nearly all drownings or near drownings by advanced or elite swimmers is the result of SWB. ​
Described for years by the US Naval center and the training of Navy Seals and Divers, SWB is now coming to the forefront for prevention by a number of groups including USA Swimming, the American Red Cross as well as several f European and Australian Swimming Associations.​

What is it ?​
Shallow Water Blackout is an underwater “faint” due to a lack of oxygen to the brain brought on by holding your breath for long periods of time. Without immediate rescue, any swimmer quickly drowns.​
Although underwater breath holding has often been viewed in the past as a low-risk childhood activity, the dangers of SWB are becoming more widely recognized more specifically in environment where achievement and pushing boundaries is part of the culture.​
In 2019 PSP updated the aquatics policy stipulating that the practice of hyperventilating and repetitive breath holding shall not be permitted in CAF swimming pools during recreation, military fitness and sport activities.​
Aquatic staff will be trained over the summer 2021 to implement the policy and raise awareness on SWB risks.​

How to fight that Silent KILLER ​

Do not encourage prolonged breath holding, breath holding contest or hypoxic training ​
Do not encourage hyperventilation...it does not improve oxygen capacity​
Obey the lifeguards and coaches when they ask you to stop​
Speak to your Fitness and Sports instructor for safer training options​

Please see the following additional resources to better understand risks related to SWB​​