Every person active on frozen ice or open water during winter should --wear a life jacket and dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature. .
Cold Water Exposure
Cold-water immersion causes many boating-related fatalities. It follows four stages, starting with cold shock, followed by swimming failure, then hypothermia and finally post-rescue collapse. Most cold-water drowning fatalities are attributed to the first two stages.
The initial shock of cold water causes involuntary gasping making it difficult to catch your breath and many people hyperventilate, faint, and drown before they are able to calm down their breathing.
The longer you are exposed to cold water, the more you lose your ability to move your extremities. If you haven’t been able to get out of the water in 5-15 minutes you need to stop moving. Movement will deplete your energy faster and increase heat loss.
What is Hypothermia?
Hypothermia is a condition in which the body loses heat faster than it can produce it. Violent shivering develops which may give way to confusion and eventually cardiac arrest or unconsciousness.
If you fall in the water, in any season, you need to know cold water survival skills. Many of our nation’s open waters are mountain fed, and water temperatures even in late summer can run low enough to bring on this condition under certain conditions.