It is essential to be able to change position in the water for a number of reasons. These include changing influences such as wind, waves, tides and currents may require reorientation of the body to cope with hazards, locating exits and searching for assistance.

Horizontal Rotation

  • Roll from back float to front float, and from front to back.

Horizontal to Vertical Rotation and vice versa (front or back to upright and return)

  • Floating on back, lift head to a vertical float.

Vertical Rotation

  • Slowly rotate to four points of the compass, clockwise and anti-clockwise.
  • Ask students to suggest why they may need to do this.

Floating – Orientation – Signalling for help

    1. Change from horizontal float to vertical float.
    2. Rotate vertically in all directions searching for an exit point or someone to help.
    3. Spot someone and signal for help.
Introduce simulated open water – rough water when floating and treading water.

Floating and Orientation Extension

Have class in two rows facing each other about 2-3m apart. Create a wave action using flutter boards (kick boards). Waves meet in the middle creating choppy, rough water.

Have the class experience all floating and orientation practices in simulated rough water.


Orientation is a crucial skill in unintentional water entries.

It is important to be able to orientate yourself in water if immersed accidentally or rolled over by a wave in the surf or in a river.