Captain's Corner - Hypothermia Kills Quickly


December 1, 2015

Well, another year has gone by and here it is December already. But, plenty of us are still going to the lakes and rivers across our great state. What we have to worry about this time of year is one of the deadliest killers that we have on our waterways. hypothermia.

Hypothermia can affect you in several ways. You can get hypothermic from being in the water; you can get hypothermic from getting wet in a rain storm; you can get hypothermic from the wind. Any one of these things can cause a hypothermic situation that can be deadly.

Hypothermia occurs when your body-core temperature drops below 95.0 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind that your normal body temperature is 98.6F degrees; that is only a drop of 3.6 degrees. Shivering and mental confusion are the signs of mild hypothermia, but with severe hypothermia you run the risk of your heart stopping.

Cold water can kill you in less than a minute. It's actually so dangerous that it kills a lot of people within seconds. Thousands of people have drowned after falling into cold water and many of them died before they even had a chance to reach the surface.

· When the water temperature drops below 77F, breathing begins to be affected.

· As the temperature of the water drops towards 60F, controlling your breathing and holding your breath becomes progressively more difficult.

· As it reaches down further to 50F, you lose total control of breathing, and are unable to control gasping and hyperventilation.

· Below 40F, water is painfully cold that it often feels as if it is burning your skin; you are unable to control gasping and hyperventilation.

So, lets all be safe out there, take the appropriate action, dress in layers, and definitely wear your life jacket; it helps to keep you warm.

And, remember - Take a boating class from the Coast Guard Auxiliary where you can learn more on hypothermia and other safe-boating topics.


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