my grandson decided to take underwater pictures of the bathtub with my digital camera. (grandma left the camera sitting next to the tub after some "cute" baby pictures of a bubble bath and grandson knocked the camera into the tub) So much for the new camera.
Actually your camera may be salvageable:
1. If the camera took a QUICK plunge-- less than a few seconds-- say maybe up to 10 (that's a number I pulled out of my hip pocket) your best course of action really is to just shake it off and hope it survived.
1. If the camera is *already* dry (i.e., it got wet-- you didn't know what to do and it's dried out in the meantime), accept your fate-- assess it for usability, it might surprise you. You might just need to clean the lens. Getting it wet again is likely to simply tempt fate.
(If it took a long plunge into the ocean however, that might be another matter, and you might want consider Method C below if it hasn't been too long from the incident)
Method C (This is also the best strategy if your camera gets dunked in sea water)
1. If the camera is still wet and it's been wet for longer than a few seconds-- say 20-30 seconds or longer-- Don't let it dry out yet!!!! (Perform step #2 and put it in a plastic bag and pour water in it if you have to! Especially if it got dunked in sea water)
2. Remove the batteries and memory card (the memory card is probably fine in any case, mine go through the washer & drier all the time :-)
3. Get some distilled water (from any source)
4. Submerse your camera in it and gently agitate it to remove any contaminants from the bath tub (or the ocean, in which case salt is going to be your biggest problem) You may have to repeat this step several times, and especially if it took a plunge into the ocean.
5. Pull it out and roll it around to let all the water drain out -- this is an important step-- work at getting the water out, you can shake it some, etc-- the goal is to try to drain all the water out of the camera now to the best of your ability.
If there are any covers that can be removed with tools you have handy-- *AND* you're good with using them (you are a Model Railroader, right ??) You can remove them now-- just the outer skins and covers, no more, and gently see if you can blow water off the internal parts-- but *only* after you've gotten all the water out and off of the camera. You don't want to introduce water *inside* the camera that was being kept out by seals and covers. Only remove the skins if it seems like you can and you feel like you have the skills to do so. It's an optional step.
6. Put the camera somewhere warm and dry-- I like to put mine on top of the fridge where it gets the warmth from the compressor. Near a sunny window is also good-- on a car dashboard-- but *not* in the direct sunlight (or at least not for long-- and *never* with the lens pointed at the sun in any case-- you can burn out the CCD element), and/or cause the oils and lubricants in the camera to heat up and get runny and they can leak out all over the mechanical or optical parts and do more damage than the water.
-- Then *don't touch it!* for several days. Seriously, just leave it alone to dry out on it's own. Don't test it, don't put the batteries in it "just to see if it still lights up"-- just leave it alone, let it go for several days or longer to be completely sure its totally and completely dried out inside.
7. Then put the batteries and memory card back in and see if you still have a camera.
The biggest issue with getting a camera dunked in any kind of water, apart from the *possibility* of frying the electronics (note that I did *not* say "certainty"! There is hope!) is whether or not it will damage the lens focusing (adjustment) and/or zoom mechanism, and/or the shutter. If the camera is of the "all-in-one" variety you have a much better chance of survivability as many (most?) of those have gaskets and seals that help keep the water out of the mechanisms. If the plunge was swift there's a good possibility that the water didn't even get a chance to penetrate the seals.
If the camera gets dunked in sea water (salt water) the biggest danger is the corrosive action of the salts, which can also begin to remove oils and grease on internal mechanical parts. And of course electricity is more able to flow (conduct) in salt water than fresh water.
(Most people don't realize it but *water* is *not* a very good conductor of electricity. Rather it is the *salts* or other contaminants that are *IN* the water that permit it to be more conductive. You can actually run an electric motor hooked with bare wires to a battery completely submerged with no problems if you're using fresh, distilled water. Sooner or later though, the motor might begin to rust...)
The goal is to flush out the sea (salt) water with the distilled water as best you can. Again trying to rinse the salts off the camera and innards, without (hopefully) breaching the internal seals.
If your camera gets dunked in fresh water-- river or pond water, or dirty bath water-- you don't have the salts to contend with generally, but you do have dirt or perhaps soaps that can get on the optical surfaces and cause problems. Anything that gets on the outside of the camera, including the lens and viewfinder, can be cleaned off. In the case of the lens and viewfinder, use optical grade cloth / wipes and fluids made specifically for cleaning lenses. Lenses often have anti-glare or other coatings to help block out the sun, and/or internal reflections between the various lenses in the optical assembly. You don't want to scratch any coatings or wipe (grind) any off.
Again, if its fresh water, a quick dunking of less than a few seconds and everything is probably going to survive without much problems. Just shake it off and clean the lens. I have several all-in-one digital cameras that I've taken kayaking with me that have survived accidental plunges in the river, or even getting completely submerged while capsized.... (it happens :-) And *ALL* of them are still functional, still working, and I still use them for water-related activities.
Hope this helps!
Modeling the South Pennsylvania Railroad ("The Hilltop Route") in the late 50's