Trygg-Hansa donated the very first safety lifebuoy 65 years ago and they have since installed more than 80 000 of them along Swedish beaches, lakes and docks. The safety lifebuoy has become a distinct safety symbol, saving approximately 14 lives every year. 

 But more lives can be saved if people know what actually happens during drowning. Or what doesn’t happen. It's a common misconception that drowning looks like in the movies, with flailing arms, loud cries for help and lots of splashing. The reality is that it often happens quickly and quietly.  

According to the Swedish Life Saving Society, 135 people drowned last year. The goal of this initiative is to raise awareness of what drowning can actually look - and sound - like so that more people will know when and how to use the safety lifebuoys. That way we can save more lives together.  

Pay attention while near the water and help raise awareness so that we all can be safer this summer. 


Sound of drowning - ASMR

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The Sound of Drowning


As opposed to what many people think, near-drowning victims often make small movements and discrete sounds, difficult for passersby to detect if they don’t know what to look out for. Trygg-Hansa has created “The Sound of Drowning” - a soundtrack of a simulated drowning, intended to raise awareness and educate people on what an actual drowning could sound like. And it’s not what you think. 

 The soundtrack was recorded using Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) technology, a relatively new creation and a global trend. It describes a calm, pleasurable feeling often accompanied by a tingling sensation. ASMR soundtracks often include whispers, white noise, scratching, rustling and crinkling, which are then amplified to create an audio stimulus.  

To passersby on the beach or dock, a near-drowning situation is often perceived as no more than quiet background noise rather than a panicky and noisy emergency. You have to be attentive to be able to identify near-drowning situations, which is why Trygg-Hansa decided to simulate the sound of drowning using ASMR.

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Drowning is not like in the movies


Drowning is not like in the movies – it doesn't always involve flailing arms and cries for help. On the contrary, common signs that someone is drowning are hyperventilation and that the person’s head is leaning back, far into the water with their mouth open right at the surface. The body is usually in an upright position and they're moving neither forward nor backward but trying to "climb" up in the water and turn onto their back. Their eyes look glassy and unfocused, although it can be difficult to see as they are usually closed and hair could be covering the face. If you are not sure wether or not it’s an emergency, call 112 and try to help, without putting yourself in danger.


How to save someone using a lifebouy

1. Remove

Remove the lifebuoy from its stand. Pull off the rope container with the line inside and put the container on the ground and put your foot on it.

2. Alert emergency services

Get the attention of others who can alert 112 before using the lifebuoy.

3. Aim

Don’t forget that the lifebuoy is heavy, so aim next to the person in the water.

4. Throw

Hold the buoy alongside your body and throw it with both hands in a “swinging” motion. Hold a loop of rope with your front hand to make it easier to control.

5. Pull in

Pull it in once the person in the water has grabbed onto the lifebuoy. If the person in the water can’t reach the buoy, pull it back in using the line and throw it again.



“Real-life drowning accidents are usually a far cry from the way drowning is portrayed in movies. This makes Trygg-Hansa’s initiative immensely important, as the soundtrack can help educate more people on what actually happens when someone is drowning and which signs to look out for – so that we can work together to reduce the number of drownings.”

Andreas Claesson, post doc/registered nurse at the Center for Resuscitation Science, Karolinska Institutet and Chairman of the Swedish Resuscitation Council

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