The knowledge of how to rescue people in water can help you save lives. However, you do not have to be a professional lifeguard to provide assistance to a person who is having difficulty in the water. All you need are some basic swimming skills and the knowledge of life saving techniques in water.
You can use reach rescue when the person in the water is close to the edge of the water -- for example, in a swimming pool. This technique is the most simple way to save a person. Grab the person and pull him closer to the edge of the water so the can get out of the water with or without your help. If the person is beyond the reach of your hand, but still not far from you, use any object, such as an oar, to pull the person out of the water.
You can employ throw rescue when the person in need of help is at a distance from you. This technique is second-best, after reach rescue, because it is safe for both you and the person in trouble. The most widely used aids in throw rescue include a rope and a buoyant aid, such as a personal flotation device.
If the person in distress in the water is far from you, you can employ the wade rescue technique. First, inspect whether it is safe to enter the water. If there is a coral reef or sharp-edged pebbles in the water, enter the water carefully, with your shoes or sandals on so not to cut your feet. Wade in the water until the person comes within reach and you are able to throw an aid to him.
Swimming rescue in the technique of last resort. You need to be a skilled swimmer and rescuer to be able to swim up to the person and provide the assistance the person may require. Be particularly careful if the person in trouble is panicking, in which case he may also pose a danger to you -- for example, if the person accidentally grabs both of your hands, making it much more difficult for you to swim.