Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: New Mexico, USA (Heron, Elephant Butte lakes); Arizona (Lake Pleasant)
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Re: Do you wear a life jacket?
In cold water, fine muscle failure, gross muscle failure, and then consciousness will be lost before hypothermia finally kills you off. For someone without a life jacket, swim failure and drowning will occur long before death from the final stages of hypothermia. Wearing a life jacket will give rescuers much more time to find you, hook on, and get your soggy butt out of the water while there's still a chance to save you.
The jacket, depending upon type, will also provide a bit of insulation, will help keep you higher in the water, and will reduce the effort required to float, helping you conserve warmth.
And, if the worst occurs, it will make it much less likely that people are still searching for your body during and after your funeral or memorial service.
A few years ago, a friend fell off a boat about a thousand feet from us. He had a top-of-the line inflatable -- in his sailing gear bag, where the marina manager, his skipper, and my wife found it. His body came back up three weeks later -- a week after the memorial service. (It took a while for the decomposition process inside his body to offset the cold water keeping his body on the bottom of the lake.) Interestingly, his sunglasses and hat were still on his recovered body.
P.S. At least one of the speakers at the memorial service was poorly chosen and did a really terrible job of talking about my friend's work life -- it sounded like the speaker from his company was reading from old performance appraisal notes and didn't even know my friend. If you're going to insist on not wearing, make sure your widow-to-be has a list of people who'll do a competent job of speaking at your memorial service or funeral.