Monday, November 5, 2012
Each year, needless deaths occur from hypothermia. The ACA states that 70% of drownings could have been avoided if the victim was wearing a PFD. This doesn't reflect the number who may not have died of cold shock or hypothermia had they been properly dressed for immersion.
So here's my general rule: If you do not wish to swim in the water as you are dressed, then you should not be kayaking (or SUP) in the water....doesn't matter how experienced you are.
Capsizes happen... kayaking is a wet sport... if you are not dressed for the water temps, you are risking your life. Hypothermia robs your body of heat, mental acuity and physical dexterity.
Try this test. plunge your hand into a bucket of ice water for up to 5 minutes and see if you can still pick up a penny....sounds so simple, right? Most heat loss occurs from head, neck, hands and torso. Know the H.E.L.P position.... better yet... don't put yourself at risk.
Options to wear based on water temperature :
• Paddling Jacket or Drytop
• Neoprene hood, gloves, socks
• Heavy neoprene boots
• Fleece undergarment for Drysuit
• Warm paddling hat
• Rashguard or wicking under layer
You may also wish to carry a cag, bivvy bag, or shelter, matches or lighter, thermos of hot tea, and warm change of clothing. Knowing how to help someone else who is showing symptoms of hypothermia may help save their life.
Need more information? Almost every kayaking website like ours, has informaton devoted to cold weather. You'll find a helpful temperature chart and compelling video on the above link. Feel free to post references to share!