Tag Archives: Mario Vittone

If they are in the water, why are they ‘Climbing the Ladder’?

12 Jul

There has been amazing response across the internet to Mario Vittone’s article on how to tell if someone is drowning.   Bottom line, no waving of arms, no screaming and it’s fast.  If you missed it, here’s the link again.  http://gcaptain.com/maritime/blog/drowning/

As a result of my last blog on the subject, I heard from a colleague in Australia, Jonathan, who has been a great source of information on water safety.  Jonathan told me that lifesavers in Australia are taught to look for someone ‘Climbing the Ladder’  What an amazingly simple message to identify someone who is drowning!  Three simple words that evoke a powerful visual image we can all relate to.  Vertical in the water, moving their hands up and down, not a lot of kicking.  I’d love for everyone to know the phrase ‘Climbing the Ladder’.   Know that if you see someone in the water ‘Climbing the Ladder’, they are drowning and need help – would you help me pass the word?



How can you tell if your child is drowning? It’s not what you think…

8 Jul

It’s always the celebrity news that catches our attention.  I freely admit getting my fix of People magazine at the salon – it’s as much a part of the experience as walking out with lovely red toenails and shampoo-commercial hair.  And besides, who among us has not been secretly relieved that even the most beautiful and talented can have an ‘off’ day?  The near-miss drowning of two toddlers this week created a minor media frenzy.  Left in a stroller near a pool, the two children of a reality TV show star were pulled from the water after their stroller rolled into the pool.


A lifeguard pulled out the child still strapped in the stroller, the father dove in to retrieve the other child – both of whom were fine.  It’s easy to dismiss the accident as self-obsessed celebrities failing in their parenting duties.  For those of us who weren’t there, maybe that was the case, maybe the parents weren’t watching.  Maybe the parents thought that having the children strapped into a stroller near the pool was actually keeping them safe from falling in.  Maybe the kids released the brakes.  Maybe the brakes weren’t on.  Maybe.  Maybe.  Maybe.

Fortunately for those kids, a stroller falling into a pool is a pretty obvious sign that something is wrong and a lifeguard noticed immediately.  We think of drowning as an obvious accident – arms flailing, screaming for help – all very dramatic, followed by some heroic soul ripping off their shirt and diving into the water to help.  Well, with any luck the heroic soul dives into the water to help, but only if they are trained about what drowning really looks like – and it’s the opposite of what we all expect.  The blog in the next link should be a must-read for every parent, caregiver, teenager, basically everyone.  It is written by an expert and explains what someone really looks like when they are drowning.


The Article Was Written By Mario Vittone Mario Vittone has nineteen years of combined military service in the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard. His writing on maritime safety has appeared in Yachting, SaltWater Sportsman,On-Scene, Lifelines, and Reader’s Digest magazine. He has lectured extensively on topics ranging from leadership to sea survival and immersion hypothermia. He is a marine safety specialist with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Bottom line – it’s silent and it’s fast.  Please help – pass on the link to everyone you know – and thank you Mario, I sure didn’t know what to look for and the fact that 10% of drownings happen while an adult is actually watching the person will make me a lot more vigilant with my kids.