Snorkeling: dry drowning signs and sympthoms

Main warning signs of dry drowning to put you on alert are as following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Extreme tiredness or lethargy
  • Behavior changes due to brain oxygen starvation

Snorkeling related dry drowning is a condition under which a person's lungs turn unable to extract oxygen from the air, due primarily to:

  • Muscular paralysis
  • Changes to the oxygen-absorbing tissues
  • Persistent laryngospasm or epiglottal spasm, sometimes accompanied by bronchiolar spasm causing hypoxia
  • Overdose of free water in human organism leading to massive brain swelling

These signs should be regarded as a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment in hospital emergency room in order to avoid cardiac arrest and death.

Dry drowning had aroused universal attention as potential danger for any swimmer, snorkeler, free diver etc since tragic incident followed by the death of a boy aged 10 in South Carolina several hours after swimming in summer 2008.

To reduce the risks of incidents leading to dry drowning, a simple general safety rule is recommended for snorkelers. If you are a snorkel diver, don't snorkel alone, but only with a buddy.

Read more about shallow water blackout, which is another danger of snorkeling.

Topics and categories: warning signs dry drowning * dry drowning swimming * dry drowning symptoms * dry drowning victim


Ukrainian Society of Professional Scuba Diving Instructors
Ukrainian professional diving instructors UDIP