There are several types of victims you may encounter in this type of contact rescue:

  • Normal - This is ideal.  You can give them instructions and they will work with you.  A simple rope toss may be a more suitable rescue alternative unless they are injured and can't grab a line.
  • Panicked - Whoa, watch out!  Remember your rescue priorities, your safety comes first.  A panicked swimmer may pull you under and you may get entangled in the throw rope.  Splash and back off ASAP!  Talk to them from a safe distance and try to calm them down.
  • Near panic and then they freak out - Treat in a similar manner to the panicked victim.  This may be a more serious problem since you are probably in their grasp already.  One approach is to begin diving immediately if the water is deep enough.  They want to stay on the surface so they probably will not follow you underwater.
  • Unresponsive - This is where a live-bait exercise makes the most sense. Unfortunately, they may have a C-Spine injury and that means you need to do what you can to immobilize their head and perhaps get them face up.  You are going to need some serious help getting to shore and evacuating them.