The two basic floating techniques in water are the horizontal survival float and the back float. Floating depends on an equilibrium between the gravitational and buoyant forces present, as stated by the San Diego State University Swimming Science Bulletin.
The horizontal survival float, also known as dead man's float, and the back float are great resting positions that exude little energy. For the horizontal float, the swimmer will be face down in the water, with arms and legs extended. To breath, the swimmer must twist the head toward the surface, inhale deeply and return to the face down position. During the back float, the swimmer inhales deeply and lies with the face up. Arms and legs are spread to the sides until balance is achieved. A slight arch of the back will also help the swimmer maintain balance.