When one thinks of cold ocean or river water, you might be thinking about water than is icy and frigid. Are you aware that water does not have to be extremely cold to cause hypothermia?
Any water that is colder than normal body temperature (98.6) can cause heat loss. Here are some survival tips if you accidentally fall in the water:
· Wear a life jacket when riding in a boat. The life jacket helps you stay afloat and serves as insulation preventing heat loss. Make sure a whistle is attached to the life jacket.
· Get out of the water as quickly as possible. Climb onto a capsized boat if possible.
· Do not attempt to swim unless you are close to safety. Swimming will actually use up energy and shorten survival time.
· Position your body to minimize heat loss. Use the HELP (heat escape lessening position) body position to reduce heat loss. Hold your knees to your chest.
· Do not remove clothing. Wet clothing does help insulate you. Buckle, button, and zip your clothes. Cover your head if possible. Remove clothing only when out of the water.