Survival Front Float

Survival Front Float  #

Introduction  #

The Survival Front Float safety skillSafety skillA method which improves the ability to interact with water in a way that increases the likelihood of avoiding and/or recovering from a hazardous aquatic situation. develops Stationary Surface CompetencyStationary Surface CompetencyStationary Surface Competency is the knowledge, skill, and experience necessary to remain at one location on the surface of the water for sustained periods of time for both strategic and energy-conservation purposes. Understanding the relationship between breathing and buoyancy and utilizing that relationship to affect buoyancy and body position are core components of being able to stay at the surface for extended periods of time. Physical abilities associated with this competency include being able to float in more than one position and being able to generate upward (vertical) propulsion with the arms and legs to keep the head above the surface. Cognitive abilities include understanding whether a floating skill or a treading skill is best suited for a given situation and set of conditions, and determining which specific floating or treading technique may be the most effective for the task at hand. , Breath Control CompetencyBreath Control CompetencyBreath Control Competency is the knowledge, skill, and experience necessary to breathe effectively in a controlled manner without using excessive energy, interfering with other movements, or compromising body position while in the water. Physical abilities associated with this competency include the physical exchange of air and keeping the body in a position at the surface so that the exchange of air can occur. Cognitive abilities include determining when to breathe and when to hold the breath. Affective abilities include responding to stimuli and situations in a calm manner with the face both above and below the surface of the water. , and Risk CompetencyRisk CompetencyRisk Competency is the knowledge, skill, and experience necessary to understand, analyze, and assess the risks of aquatic environments, and to be able to cope with risk by applying risk-management strategies. Cognitive abilities associated with this competency include problem solving, analyzing options, and determining how best to avoid or reduce risks in a given situation. Affective abilities include responding to stimuli and situations in a calm manner and an awareness of how emotions can affect decision making. as primary competencies. Survival Front Float develops a student’s ability to remain floating at the surface, while breathing in a controlled and comfortable manner. Floating on the front is an essential survival skill in unsteady environments where waves or choppy water can make it difficult to breathe when floating on one’s back. Coordination of the arms and legs is required to raise the head above the surface before each breath. Sculling may be needed to remain in a stationary location or to maintain a surface position if wearing clothing.

Instructors should teach students how to control and relax their body at the surface for much longer periods than the short time of the assessment. Instruction topics include identifying when Survival Front Float would be useful and why (i.e., energy expenditure and breathing).

Safety knowledge  #

Assessment prompt  #

What are some reasons you would choose to float on your back, and what are some reasons you might choose to float on your front?

Acceptable responses  #

Float on back

  • If you want to rest
  • When you want to breathe easily in calm water
  • To call for help
  • If your out in the water a long time and want to save energy

Float on front

  • When you need to be able to look around
  • If you want to see what is under you
  • To relax in water that's not calm
  • If the water is wavy or is splashing you

Description  #

The Survival Front Float safety skill is defined by the following body posturePostureThe particular way the body is held while doing an activity. Mobility specialists define posture as the way you position your body or arrange your limbs, such as “to stand up straight with your shoulders back and your chin up.” , arm formsFormThe visible shape or configuration of something. Mobility specialists define form as an arrangement of the elements in a composition; the way something (or someone) is shaped or arranged. , leg forms, breathing, and timing characteristics and features.

Survival Front Float Description  #


  1. Body positioned on frontFront / On frontA proneProneSituated on the front, or ventral, surface of the body with the face and chest downward.
    body position such that the face and chest are oriented down. “On front” means to have a prone body position on or near the surface of the water.
  2. Upper back at or just under surface
  3. Body relaxed and stationary
  4. Face below surface with back of head above surface


  1. Arms extendedExtendFor limbs – to fully straighten and reach towards or away from something. For joints – to straighten, not flex. out or overhead at or near surface
  2. Arms relaxed and still except during breathing cycle; may scull or fin slightly to help maintain buoyancy


  1. Legs hang below surface
  2. Legs relaxed and still except during breathing cycle; may kick slightly to help maintain buoyancy

Breathing cycle

  1. Begin in relaxed floating position with face below surface
  2. Scull or sweep arms inward and downward to lift head above surface
  3. Scissor kick or breaststroke kick to keep head above surface and breathe
  4. Lower face below surface and return to relaxed floating position


  1. One breathing cycle every 5 to 10 seconds
Survival Front Float Demonstration  #

Video demonstration of the skill.

Assessment  #

Scoring rules  #

The following scoring rulesScoring rulesA guide used to evaluate performance of distance or time measured skills that includes descriptions of one or more criteria to determine whether to continue or halt the assessment process. specify the performance characteristics used to determine when to halt the skill assessment. A single measurement is recorded based on the instructor’s judgment of the student’s performance.

Survival Front Float Scoring Rules  #


Record time duration until student exhibits any of the following:

  • Requires assistanceAssistance / AssistedPerforming a skill or a component of a skill with the use of a structure, instructor, or flotation aid. or becomes unsafe
  • Moves body into a side or back position
  • Has excessive lateral or directional movement
  • Has face mostly above the surface
  • Move arms and/or legs excessively to maintain surface position
  • Uses the pool bottom to maintain surface position
  • Holds on to a stationary object or flotation aid
  • Touches the pool wall or another student repeatedly
  • Does not use either arm or leg actions to lift and hold head up to breathe
  • Does not breathe at a rate of once every 5 to 10 seconds
  • Reaches maximum time of 30 seconds