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 The danger of Cold Shock from Cold Water Immersion

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Paul Heff
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Number of posts : 2197
Registration date : 2007-10-12

PostSubject: The danger of Cold Shock from Cold Water Immersion   Tue 31 Jan 2012, 5:06 pm

We regularly have decisions to make on what clothes to wear when kayaking. We know we are supposed to dress for water immersion, but on a warm spring day it's easy to overheat. However, knowing that typical Irish water temperature is 7 deg C Winter & 16 deg C Summer, the following articles makes interesting reading, and may help you decide on what to wear on the water.

Click here if you're not concerned about falling into cold water...

Here are some more:

Coldshock, Swim Failure and Hypothermia


From above:
- nine elite marines, water survival instructors, capsized in 2 deg C water wearing sweatsuits and no PFDs. None of them survived the attempted 100 yard swim to shore.
- sixteen (16) Danish fishermen jumped into the icy waters of the North Sea when their trawler sank in a storm. They were in the water for a 2 - 3 hours before being rescued. They walked across the deck of the rescue vessel and went down into the galley to warm up. Each and every one collapsed and died in the galley.
- an average adult person has a 50/50 chance of surviving a 50 metre swim in 10 deg C water.
- a 50 year old person in 10 deg C water has a 50/50 chance of surviving for 50 minutes

Cold water doesn't actually have to be that cold to affect your body: 10 deg C is enough to cause the maximal hyperventilation response, and just over 11 deg C to cause maximal gasp, uncontrollable gasping for air. Not because your under water - its an automatic bodily response to cold - the sudden intake of breath upon entering cold water.

An older post on this subject.

Paddle safe and stay warm.

Paul Heff
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