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  #1  
Old 01-27-2011
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how cold is cold? well....cold

Well I must have jinxed myself as I was reading this two days ago:

Cold Water Survival

and that afternoon while out paddling around field testing my handheld vhf when i felt the call of nature. beach it and discreetly relieve myself on the shore? NAAHHHH im sure if im careful i can kneel sideways in the kayak and take care of business. thats when i fell in. two weeks ago the hummingbird was reading 48.5, after i got back from this experience i checked it again (we had a couple of blue northers roll thorough) and it read 40. Just wanted to post a couple of observations that maybe helpful, as most people dont jump in to 40 deg water to see what its like.

it is damn cold. it does take your breath away--and that was a reflex i really dont think i could have prevented, though i didnt feel any imminent cardiac symptoms. i didnt experience any of the 'panic thrashing' described in the article either. i grabbed the kayak and my drybags (harmony hurricane had slight seepage, big sky did fine--neither on par with my WM xps series drybag) got to where i could stand, drug it onshore and dumped the water out. i found that my foulies (i was wearing a base layer, mid, pfd, outer and foulies) seemed to be trapping cold in, so i pulled em off and tossed em in my boat. the next thing i worried about was my core temp so i just jumped back in and paddled as fast as i could the .8NM to the boat, stripped and stood in front of the heaters. lol.

on the chart in the article above it says in 40-50 temp exhaustion or uncon. in 30-60 min. based on how i felt, i would put it at 20-40 (though h20 temp was at the low end of that ranage), and doubt i could have swam 1/2 mile. the survival time may be accurate, as you would be stationary and save some heat, but i wasnt sticking around to try it.

next time ill beach it.
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Last edited by QuickMick; 01-27-2011 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Take a look at Cold Water Boot Camp

A must see for sailors. There is an American version as well, but I am not sure where it is.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Glad your OK Mick & thanks for the first hand info ..... hope never to need it

Now knowing about the reflex "gasp" don't think I want be relieveing myself to tast it
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Old 01-27-2011
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Cold Weather Sailing

I was out a few weeks back at the leading edge of a snowstorm in East Tennessee, and I must say, knowing that falling in, a summertime Youtube Moment, could actually get you killed, does focus the mind.

If I capsize Charleston Lady in the summer, it will cost me money. If I do it in the winter, it could cost me my life.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Mick

Quote:
that was a reflex i really dont think i could have prevented
When hitting cold water, there is a gasp reflex. We teach people to cover their mouth and nose as they fall into the water. This may keep water out their lungs.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Didn't we discuss this when you drilled a hole through the hull of your boat. You don't have to admit all this stuff !

Getting the wet clothing off was a very good idea. It doesn't exactly hold the cold in, the water just acts as a much better conductor for your body heat than the air. Smart move.

Glad your okay.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Didn't we discuss this when you drilled a hole through the hull of your boat. You don't have to admit all this stuff !

Getting the wet clothing off was a very good idea. It doesn't exactly hold the cold in, the water just acts as a much better conductor for your body heat than the air. Smart move.

Glad your okay.
well at least it was a small hole. lol. thats a day that will live in infamy.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Didn't we discuss this when you drilled a hole through the hull of your boat. You don't have to admit all this stuff !

Getting the wet clothing off was a very good idea. It doesn't exactly hold the cold in, the water just acts as a much better conductor for your body heat than the air. Smart move.

Glad your okay.
Good to hear you made it ok

Reflex is called the Mammalian reflex. It occurs in water colder than 70 deg hitting the face (specifically nasal area) and does all sorts of things including making it very difficult to breathe in. I first experienced this in my Scuba training. Went down to a platform @ 15 ft and had to remove my mask and put back on. Water was prob. about 50 deg. When the water hit my nasal area I couldn't breathe although my regulator was working fine. Was trying to inhale but couldn't. Took about 15 sec. (which seems like an eternity) for me to be able to draw in a breath. Scared the bejesus out of me. If you know it's coming it makes it easier but first time can cause panic.
That said you bring up a great point for boaters in cooler/colder climate. The low water temp can kill you and what you do after getting wet can make the difference between life and death. You did all the right things, way to go. Get wet things off, get dry, get warm ASAP. Glad you posted your little mishap to let us all be reminded of the serious nature of cold water.
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Old 01-27-2011
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I've been swimming in water with ice in a quite a few times, some planned, some not.

* If getting wet is likely (kayak, sailing dingy, or beach cat) a dry suit or wet suit is a greater safety requirment than the pfd. It will provide some flotation anyway and prevent serious hypothermia for a long time (a PFD is still a good idea--I am making a comparison). EVERYONE wears them here in the winter, and certainly before the water hits 40F. You can always where other clothes over the wet suit, as needed. A 3mm wet suit will do for sailing (can't moove in the thick ones).
* Next best is windblock fleece + underlayer (though much less effective, mostly because of looser fit. Still, MUCH better than ordinary fouly/underlayer/mid-layer combinations. Make sure ther eare TIGHT wrist and ankle closures.

Also....
* It makes a huge difference whether you are already warm (working hard or paddling) or cold (hunter falls out of stationary boat after setting for a time). If your core is very warm, that adds crucial minutes. Thus, if you are not working hard, the danger is greater. A cold person goes into shock VERY quickly; a very warm person is unhappy when they hit the water, but will not chill for a few minutes. Ther difference, of course, is only minutes, but enough to get up a ladder.
* As a kayaker, the OP was more aware of what needed done and focused on doing it. A guest may simply panic rather than think through how many minutes they have. I always give winter guests and extra warning about cold water and to watch each other.
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Old 01-27-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
If getting wet is likely (kayak, sailing dingy, or beach cat) a dry suit or wet suit is a greater safety requirment than the pfd.
I am so glad you are still with us to make the post you did.

PDQaltair is right on. I might add, dry or wet suit plus a PFD. (check legalities).

I quit winter diving (SCUBA) four years ago when I got under some ice I did not want to be under. I have dove with a wet suit where the ocean was -2C and the air was -15C. I do not do that anymore either.

16 years ago I launched our then Tanzer 22 when the ice had just come off the lake. Best guess water temp - right around freezing. I had to go in five feet of water to get the boat loose from the trailer. The one thing I did right was tie a bowline around my waist to the line running to the shore 25 feet away. I am not sure I would have made the last five feet without Doug pulling the line in.

Glad you are still with us!

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