Preparing for Possible Cold Water Immersion
Your chance of surviving cold water immersion depends on having sufficient flotation to keep your head above water, controlling your breathing, having timely rescue by yourself or others, and retaining body heat.
Prepare for boating in cold water conditions by always wearing a secured lifejacket or PFD. Also wear layered clothing for insulation. Items you can wear for extra protection from hypothermia include:
- Anti-exposure worksuit (lifejacket with thermal protection)
- Drysuit (use with a lifejacket or PFD and a thermal liner)
- Floater or survival suit (full-body lifejacket)
- Immersion suit (use when abandoning a boat in extreme conditions)
- Wetsuit (use with a lifejacket or PFD; traps and heats water against the body)
Equip your pleasure craft with a reboarding device (ladder, lifting harness, etc.) to use if you should fall into the water.
Of course, the best prevention is to take all measures necessary to avoid capsizing your pleasure craft or falling into cold water in the first place.