You’re standing on a beach fully clothed, enjoying a nice barbecue when you see someone in the nearby lake flailing. Naturally you spring into action. If you jumped into the water fully clothed, though, you’re about to make it a lot harder to save that drowning person – or even yourself.
As advice site The Art of Manliness explains, keeping all your clothes on in the water is going to drag you down. A lot. Water is heavy and your clothes soak up a ton of it. This isn’t a good disadvantage to have if you’re trying to save someone from drowning. So, before you dive in, you’ll need to remove most of your extra clothing.
The 1952 edition of the Boy Scout manual has some tips on how to disrobe in a hurry, which The Art of Manliness have faithfully recreated above. Here are the basic steps, as the site explains them:
- Remove coat while removing your shoes.
- Slip your shirt off your shoulders as you step out of your pants.
- Remove your arms from the sleeves of the shirt. (It’s hard to tell from the original illustration, but the figure may be re-buttoning one of the buttons on his shirt here, perhaps to turn it into a more effective towing device.)
- Peel off your socks as you clamp your shirt between your teeth.
- Jump into the water.
- Extend your shirt to the victim to hold onto. Even when you get into the water with the victim, it’s best to have them hold onto something and tow them ashore, rather than getting close enough to get clawed, grabbed, and/or kicked. If you don’t have something to extend to him or her, swim behind them, and wrap your arm around their chest, keeping their head above water. Swim ashore.
In particular, using your shirt to give the victim something to hold on to is an important tool. If a person is actually drowning — and you can learn the difference here — their Instinctive Drowning Response will have kicked in which can mean a lot of uncontrollable flailing. The shirt lets them grab on to an inanimate object, rather than accidentally punching their rescuer in the face.
Can You Undress in 20 Seconds or Less? [The Art of Manliness]