True Drowning Story: Why Mental Preparedness is Everything

Drowning reader DJnRF (David Jacobs) replied to the recent post about coordinating family members in a tough survival scenario with a true story about multiple drownings. It was too insightful to pass up, so it’s being featured in a post.

Warning: This isn’t an easy read, but it shows why mental preparedness is so critical when a split second decision needs to be made.

I had a friend here who was a sergeant of police in the department. He had been in his job over 20 years. One weekend he, his brother, and his nephew went on a fishing weekend at a nearby lake. It was early spring in very nice weather.

While out on the lake on Saturday, the sun disappeared and high winds began to blow with a coming storm. The temperature dropped from the mid-60s to the mid-40s in just a few minutes. Due to wave action on the lake they were returning to the shore and their camp.

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Somehow, about 30 feet from shore, the boat overturned. All went in the water.

When the 17 year old nephew did not immediately surface, both my friend and his brother began to search for him.

The water temperature was still in the upper 30s from the winter. With only thinking of saving the boy, all three jumped in and ended up drowning. It was later found that the boy had gotten tangled in some weeds underwater and drowned.

Both my friend and his brother drowned because of hypothermia from the cold water. The cold water caused the condition very fast so that neither man could even control their own bodies to swim to shore.

Emotions caused their deaths. With proper knowledge and training, these men could have saved themselves, called for extra help and possibly even saved the boy. Instead, they made victims of themselves, and made it impossible to save the boy.

Learn, and train before any emergency. Remember, it is not what you have in your prepared supplies that will cause you to survive anything. It is what you know. What you have can just make your survival easier. If you do not have the proper knowledge, training, and ability, do not use your emotions to make a victim of yourself as well.

If you have a true survival story to share, or insights about any area of preparedness, be sure to leave a comment on or on one of Living Ready‘s social media channels. If editors spot your thoughtful comment, it could become a featured article on