The life ring can be a big help for someone struggling while swimming from exhaustion to a cramp or even breaking thru the ice and in rare cases becoming tangled in weeds.
Once a swimmer realizes they are in trouble they don’t have much time or even energy to yell for help, so getting them out quickly is important. One way is to toss them a flotation devise such as the life ring which they can hold on to, to keep from sinking and to relax a little until help comes.
I can’t tell you how many years we’ve had our life ring at the pond but it is there year round in the event something should go wrong. Yes it stay’s on the deck all year, sometimes used while swimming but mostly there for an emergency even if someone should break thru the ice. The easiest thing about ice safety is to not go on it. I fell thru as a teenager and have never been back on ice since.
Having a rope attached to the life ring can be a big help whether there is ice or not, the person in distress may not have the energy to swim to the life ring if you missed tossing it out to them. The rope will also help to slowly pull them back in to shore if needed.
As you can see in the picture we need to get a rope on ours but the life ring was a present and a very thoughtful one at that. So far we have not needed it in an emergency but everyone knows it is there for the just in case something happens and right by the pond, not in the garage or stored away from the pond but right there for a quick grab.
Don’t have a deck to hang it on? The pound in a stake close to the pond and hang it from there.