Drowning is a global problem that affects all populations. The events leading up to and the sequelae from a drowning incident vary greatly based on numerous factors, but the primary physiologic insult is always hypoxia. This is the starting point for all morbidity and mortality, and it must remain the focus of treatment. This issue discusses the initial resuscitation and treatment of adult drowning patients in the emergency department. Primary focus is placed on the key components of pathophysiology that require immediate attention. From there, evidence is presented to help guide the management of associated clinical concerns such as hypothermia, mechanical ventilation, and traumatic injuries, and to help form safe and reasonable disposition plans.