Coldwater immersion is one of the most neglected issues when it comes to preparing and educating the boaters for unexpected situations. That’s why it gets challenging to deal with such circumstances when they find themselves submerged into the frigid water with no help close by.
In this blog post, we’ll share what to do in case of cold water immersion and how you can avoid the possibility of having a severe cardiac attack by taking proper steps:
Don’t Abandon the Ship Until It’s Necessary
It’s essential to remember that your boat is your vessel of safety, and it’s your best chance at striving for survival. Abandoning the ship unnecessarily or prematurely could lead to severe consequences from hypothermia to death.
Here’s what we suggest doing when you find yourself in a situation where abandoning your boat might become a necessity if help doesn’t arrive in time:
- Keep calm and send a distress signal back to the marina. Moreover, it would be best if you turned on your EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon), a device that alerts the search and rescue services of your location in sea-related emergencies.
- Get everyone on the boat together in one place.
- Prepare everyone to abandon the ship by providing them personal flotation devices or immersion suits.
- Lastly, prepare your survival craft for launch and deploy on leeward.
Dos and Don’ts for Abandoning the Ship with No Preparation
When abandoning the vessel becomes necessary without any preparation, you can take the following precautions to protect yourself against the cold while waiting for the help to arrive after sending out a distress signal:
1- Don’t Panic
The first thing you need to control is your own body reactions upon hitting the cold water. There’s a high chance you can drown or have a cardiac arrest if you panic erratically in the freezing water, even when you’re a professional swimmer.
2- Avoid Swimming Aimlessly
It’s best to limit your body movements as much as possible once you are submerged in the water. Case in point, you must avoid swimming or making jerky movements so that it takes longer for the hypothermia to set in.
3- Use the H.E.L.P
H.E.L.P stands for Heat Escape Lessening Position. When you don’t have an exposure suit, it’s best to use this position, which protects your critical body areas from the cold and slows down the heat loss process. To mimic the position, wrap both of your arms tightly against your chest, bend your neck slightly towards your chest, and cross your knees in front of you.
4- Huddle with Other Survivors
On the other hand, if you have other survivors with you, it’s best to huddle together, pressing the sides of your bodies and wrapping arms around each other to keep your body from losing heat.
Now that you know what to do in case of cold water immersion, let everyone onboard understand the procedure before taking off your boat out on the water to be on the safe side.
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