Considering Personal Competency Wearing Clothes

Many people drown because of accidental falls into water, often wearing clothes. Evidence suggests that overestimation of ability and underestimation of the risks is a critical factor in many drownings. Often there is an overestimation of ability because people don’t have a realistic understanding of their own competence, especially in open water environments. It is important for students to experience the effects of wearing clothes in the water so they are more able to accurately assess their ability.

personal competency
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exit wearing clothes personal competency

  1. Ask questions to ascertain what students think they might be able to do wearing clothes in the water.
  2. Perceived competency questions could include:
    • Can you swim wearing clothes?
    • How far do you think can you swim without stopping (in togs, in clothes, with a lifejacket over your clothes)?
    • How long do you think you could you float for (in togs, in clothes, with a lifejacket over your clothes)?
    • Do you think you can submerge to touch the bottom? (in togs, in clothes, with a lifejacket over your clothes)?
    • Do you think you can get out of the pool (in togs, in clothes, with a lifejacket over your clothes)?
  3. Provide opportunities for students to discover what they actually can do in the above activities.
  4. Discuss with the students what they could actually do compared with what they thought they could do.

Teaching Tips and Class Management

  • Personal competency should also be considered and experienced with moving water and cold water.
  • Observe and experience the effects of different attire by having one group wearing swimwear, another wearing clothes, and another wearing lifejackets.