Protecting Against Rapid Heat Loss
If you cannot get out of the water quickly, act to protect against rapid heat loss. In as little as 10 minutes, you may be unable to self-rescue. Your focus now should be to slow heat loss.
- Stay as motionless as possible, protecting the high heat loss areas of your body, and keep your head and neck out of the water.
- Safety typically looks closer than it actually is, so staying with the boat is usually a better choice than swimming.
- Adopt a position to reduce heat loss. If alone, use the Heat Escape Lessening Posture (HELP) position; or if there are others in the water with you, huddle together.
- If you must swim, conserve energy and minimize movement. Swim on your back with your upper arms against the sides of your chest, your thighs together, and your knees bent. Flutter-kick with your lower legs.
Be prepared at all times to signal rescuers.