What determines drownings after an ocean sinking?
July 5, 2012 6:54 AM Subscribe
I read today of a capsized yacht that killed over two dozen people, and I realized that I think I may over-estimate my ability to survive a sinking. I have always thought that I could tread water or float on my back for a long time if that were to ever happen, but the fact that people generally drown and sometimes soon after the sinking makes me think that there's a lot of complex things happening during the sinking (and I am probably over-estimating how much energy it would require for me to keep swimming). What is ordinarily the causes of drownings in sinkings at sea?
posted by scunning to science & nature (35 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Has anyone ever conducted survival analysis to determine the proximate risk factors that determine the speed at which individuals will perish in the event of a sinking, and if so, what generally is known about such events? Is it psychological things like "keeping your head"? Is age, gender, etc.? Does it have to do with water temperature, debris, etc.? And can you explain the experience of these sinking scenarios if you understand it well enough so that I understand better what is likely happening to individuals floating in the water as they move through the duration of time where they are at risk? I would appreciate it -- if only so that I could update my beliefs and not be so over-confident.