Why is it that some people can effortlessly float on water and others can’t? Not everyone can float naturally and without a floatation device. Your ability to float on water has to do with body density and your ability to displace enough water to float. It turns out that people with a smaller body might have trouble floating. People with a muscular body type are at a disadvantage too.

How to float on water?

It is easy to float on water. As soon as the water your body displaces weighs more than you do, you can float. You probably remember Archimedes’ Law from 8th-grade science. Fluids exert an upward buoyant force. When you are submerged in water, you weigh less, and you are less ‘dense’ than the water. This is because your lungs are full of air like a balloon. Like a balloon, the air in your lungs keeps you afloat on the surface naturally.

Why do some people float better than others?

Because fat is less dense than bones and muscle, people with a higher body fat percentage can float more easily. That is the reason some athletes have trouble floating on water. Your lung capacity impacts your ability to float too. When you float on water, your lungs act like balloons. The more air in your lungs, the more lift they give your body in water.

You should also consider the psychological factors. People who can’t swim are less likely to float. If you can’t swim, you are likely to be nervous in the water, you breathe more rapidly or shallowly, and there will be less air in your lungs. Thus, it helps to stay relaxed if you want to keep your body afloat.

Why can’t I float on water?

If your body density is greater than water, then you will sink. If your body is less dense than water, then you will float. Density has everything to do with mass and volume (the amount of space it takes up). This is the reason why wood floats and iron sinks.

How can a heavy metal ship float when I cannot?

A heavy metal ship can float on the water because it is large enough to have an overall density less than that of water surrounding it. But, if you crushed the ships down into a smaller volume, getting ready all of the empty space, it would sink like a rock. The small volume would result in increased density.

The same concept is true for people. Your ability to float on water has several different variables.

Can men float on water more easily than women?

Women float more easily than men. This is not because of better floating skills. Genetically men usually have more muscle mass than women. More muscles limit men’s buoyancy potential. This is the reason women are more likely to be able to float on the water than men.

Is it easier to float in the ocean?

You will find that it is easier to float in the ocean. It is because of the saltwater. Salt is more dense per volume than a person. That makes it easier to float in the sea or the ocean than it would be in freshwater.

Even if you have trouble floating in water due to body density, you can try changing your buoyancy in the water. You can try floating with part of your legs hanging down in the water instead of trying to keep both legs on top of the surface.

Can you swim if you can’t float?

You don’t need to be able to float on water to swim. Not everyone can naturally float on water, but everyone should be able to learn to swim. To swim, you need to learn the right movements and techniques. Swimming has to do with technique and practice. Floating on water has to do with body density.

The composition of your body influences your ability to float. That is to say, if you are thin and muscular and have a normal or low body fat percentage, you are less likely to float on water naturally. If you have a higher percentage of body fat, you are more likely to float on water.

Why can’t I swim or float in deep water? No matter how much I try, I always sink?

If you can float, it isn’t because of the depth of the water. If you can float in shallow water, you should be able to float in deep water too. The depth of the water is not the issue if you have trouble floating. Deepwater may make you nervous. And when you are nervous, your breathing changes. Your breathing becomes shallow, and you are not filling your lung with air the same way you would when you are calm and relaxed. Less water in your lung can make you less buoyant.

Why can’t some people float?

Many people sing in water; they can’t float. Some people can’t float because they are too nervous in the water. Muscular people or people who are lean might have trouble floating too. If you have a low body fat percentage, floating on water might be difficult. But, everyone who can swim can float. So, if you can’t float on water naturally, learn to swim.

What if I can’t float on water?

Treading water is a great alternative to floating. It is an essential life skill. Treading water gives you the power to float in one place even if you can’t float on water naturally. Treading water is a useful skill in deep water, especially if you can’t float. Treading water can get you from point A to B if you can’t swim.

Is there a technique to stay afloat water?

To practice in a pool where your feet cannot touch the bottom, stay close to the edge, and hold onto the side of the pool. Keep your body vertical in a vertical position, with your legs below you.  Kick your legs in a flutter kick or scissor motion. Try to do this without bending your knees. At the same time keep your legs relaxed and flexible and with pointed toes.

At first, practice this while holding on to the edge of the pool. You can also use a floatation device if it makes you feel more comfortable. When you start out, the kicking motion can be exhausting.

While you hold on to your floatation device, practice the leg movement. Stay close enough to the edge of the pool that you can reach the wall if you need to. When you are ready, you can try the floating exercise without the floatation device. Once you have mastered floating on water, you increase your water safety.