What is a shallow water blackout?

Diving is an enjoyable activity that can be practiced by all ages, from young children to adults. The health benefits of Scuba Diving are well known and include the reduction of stress and anxiety, improved circulation, and increased muscle tone. It is also a good form of exercise for those who want to lose weight or just get some physical activity into their daily routines. However, there are dangers associated with it as well. One such danger is a shallow water blackout (SWB). Let’s take a look at what this condition is so that you can learn how to prevent it from happening in your own activities!

Shallow Water Blackout (SWB)

Shallow water blackout is a type of drowning that occurs when a person has been underwater for too long, causing them to pass out. If you’re not underwater long enough, you won’t drown—but if you are underwater for too long, it can lead to death. SWB can happen to anyone because it’s caused by a lack of oxygen in the brain and does not require any previous medical conditions or health issues.

The condition happens when you hold your breath while diving below the surface of water for several minutes at a time. As your blood travels from your lungs into other parts of your body, carbon dioxide builds up in your bloodstream and causes hypoxia (lack of oxygen). As this continues for longer periods of time (usually about five minutes), it becomes harder for oxygen-deprived cells throughout the body to function properly–including those located within our brains!

What actually Shallow Water Blackout is?

  • Shallow water blackout is a condition where you lose consciousness underwater.
  • It’s caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain, and it’s different from drowning. While someone who is drowning will have their lungs fill with water, a person with SWB will be able to hold their breath for long periods of time before losing consciousness.
  • It can happen to anyone – even experienced swimmers or divers! This makes it important for everyone to understand how SWB works so that they can take steps to prevent themselves from experiencing it in the first place.
  • The most common place for shallow water blackouts to occur is in pools or other places where there isn’t much depth of water; however, this doesn’t mean that people are safe when they’re diving in deeper waters either! Because there’s no immediate danger associated with being underwater as opposed to being above it (like an impending shark attack), many people don’t realize how serious an issue this really is until something goes wrong—and by then it may already be too late!

How does a person get it?

When a person experiences shallow water blackout, it’s typically because of one or more of the following:

  • Diving too deep. The depth of water at which it’s safe to dive depends on your fitness level and ability. If you’re inexperienced, it’s best to stay in shallower waters until you gain confidence and experience in deeper pools or oceans.
  • Diving too fast. If you’re experienced and trying to divefaster than usual—for example, during a race or competition—it can be easy to get overwhelmed by fatigue, which can cause shallow water blackout due to decreased oxygen levels in your body.
  • Not getting enough oxygen while breathing out quickly after taking each breath (hyperventilating). Hyperventilation occurs when you breathe too quickly and deeply in order for more oxygen into your lungs than they need at that moment; this often happens when someone feels anxious about something and then tries breathing exercises like deep breathing as an attempt at calming down their nerves

Who is at risk of Shallow Water Blackout?

  • If you are not an experienced diver and have been diving for a short time, or if you are new to diving, or if you haven’t dived for a while, then there is more chance that you will experience a blackout.
  • If you have had one blackout before and don’t know what caused it and how to avoid it happening again, then there is more chance that you will experience another one.
  • Or, If your physical condition has changed (for example because of weight loss or dehydration) then there is more chance that any problems with air supply might be exacerbated.

How do you prevent from it?

  • Don’t push yourself too hard. Do not dive when you are tired or under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication that may impair your ability to dive safely.
  • Always dive with a buddy who will be able to assist if you lose consciousness while diving.
  • Avoid diving alone, especially if you’re new to the sport and haven’t yet mastered the necessary skills for safe deep water dives.
  • If possible, take time out from training at least once every 24 hours or so, as well as between each dive session if possible.

What should you do if someone gets a shallow water blackout?

After a shallow water blackout, the first thing to do is bring the person to the surface and make sure they have enough oxygen. If you can, try to get them into a horizontal position on their back. This will help them breathe more easily and quickly recover from hypoxia (a lack of oxygen).

If you are alone in the water, it may be better not to attempt rescuing your friend yourself. Call emergency services immediately and let them know what’s going on so they can send help as soon as possible.

Know the risks and prevention strategies

You should know the risks associated with shallow water blackout and how to prevent it. Shallow water blackout is a devastating swimming or diving accident that can result in permanent brain damage or death. It occurs when you’re unable to breathe while submerged, either from an unexpected lack of oxygen or from being held under by another person or an object such as a lifeguard’s rescue tube.

The most obvious symptom of shallow water blackouts are shortness of breath and panic while swimming in deep water (6 feet or more). Other signs include dizziness, weakness, confusion, vomiting, difficulty breathing and profuse sweating. If someone experiences these symptoms while swimming alone off-shore—especially if you’re near other swimmers or divers—call 911 immediately so rescuers can get help on its way quickly enough before it’s too late!


Shallow water blackout is a serious risk to swimmers. and divers It can happen to anyone, even those who are trained and experienced. To avoid shallow water blackout, always ask an expert before this activity in deep water and keep yourself hydrated. If someone else shows signs of shallow water blackout, get them immediate medical attention as soon as possible.

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