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Old 13-04-2013, 07:54   #16
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Re: Hypothermia - Read this!

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Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
I went in the water off of Monterey, CA to clear a line From the prop in January. Water temp was in the low 50s. In less than 10 minutes my hands lost all feeling. Had to stick my face and work by sight as I had no idea where or what my hands and/or arms were doing without looking at them. Coordination went to crap and had a very difficult time cutting the line away and not cutting myself. Probably wasn't in the water more than 20 minutes but it was long enough to make me nearly helpless. Did not have the strength or coordination to climb back on board without major help. The incapacitation from the cold was insidious as I didn't feel the cold after the first few minutes. Once I was out of the water and down below, crawled into a sleeping bag and shivered uncontrollably for what seemed like hours. It takes very little time and not so cold water to to incapacitate you.

Have heard that many people die from cold water immersion after they are rescued because the cold peripheral blood circulates into the body core and causes thermal shock to the internal organs. Not a good idea to try and warm someone quickly who is suffering from hypothermia.
I am on the Monterey Bay. I feel that a wetsuit is absolutely mandatory gear aboard the boat. I often clean the bottom when anchored out and even with a wetsuit after about 40 minutes I can feel the effects. Longer than that and it starts getting hard to climb the swim ladder.
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Old 13-04-2013, 08:33   #17
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In the first kit if every boat.... Even here in S Fla should be space blankets AND heater packs. From my first hand experience, placing the packs on the cartoid (neck) and femoral (groin) arteries will warm marginal cases up safely.

Your mileage may vary
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Old 13-04-2013, 08:34   #18
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Re: Hypothermia - Read this!

The article is excellent, especially in identifying initial immersion as one of the most dangerous points. It's hard to explain the systemic shock that your body goes through when you hit very cold water. The strongest swimmer can drown in seconds if you can't manage this shock -- and this is where a lifejacket is essential.

Once you get through that shock, and can breathe again, then up here the key thing to do is get out of the water fast. Our sailing waters rarely get above 8 C (~45 F for you Americans), and 20nm off shore its commonly around 5 or 4C -- even in the "heat" of summer. A these temperatures you have about 15 minutes before your extremities are useless. You'll last quite a while longer by floating in a fetal position, but with a rapidly decreasing ability to do anything. So unless rescue is imminent, it's vital to do whatever you can to get yourself out of the water ASAP! Swim for shore. Swim for the boat. Yell, scream. Do whatever you can do to get out fast.

... It underscores the absolute necessity to stay on the boat. If you go overboard while underway up here, you will probably die. The lifejacket is great -- for finding the body.
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Old 13-04-2013, 08:35   #19
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Re: Hypothermia - Read this!

I scuba dive in Monterey/Carmel nearly every weekend. Even with a 7mm wetsuit, after an hour in the water, you likely will experience some form of hypothermia. The weekly divers here use a drysuit with thicker undergarments and we'll suit up even before we hop on the boat, just in case we fell overboard for any reason.

Not only is there a high risk of hypothermia in cold water, but also a risk of immersion pulmonary edema, which could exacerbate the condition by inducing cardiac arrest due to hypoxia.
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Old 13-04-2013, 08:59   #20
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Re: Hypothermia - Read this!

I spent about 10 years as a hard hat diver and the coldest I ever got was decompressing on the line in a dry suit. What a way to make a living!
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Old 13-04-2013, 09:20   #21
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Originally Posted by mbianka View Post
60 degrees F is the temperature I will voluntarily start swimming off the boat. ...
No way, my limit is about 80F!

Also, cold water is not necessary for hypothermia...a diver died of hypothermia in Belize a few years ago...it just took her almost 48 hours.
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Old 13-04-2013, 09:32   #22
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Just now I am starting to read the articles. At this point I will say I fervently disagree with the water temps he uses. 50, even 40F temps do not correlate to the effects he mentions.

...
Do not correlate in what way?
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Old 13-04-2013, 09:48   #23
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Re: Hypothermia - Read this!

A little off topic here but some observations about being in ice water.

It's interesting that after immersion in a 190 F sauna and then plunging through a hole in the ice, the shock reflex is effectively suppressed. You can sit in the ice water for a couple minutes before you even start to feel uncomfortable.

It also seems like one rapidly gets accustomed to cold water. I noticed this while Scuba diving. The first dive of the season in the ice is brutal but on subsequent dives you don't seem to notice the cold water. I also noticed this effect swimming in rivers in Canada that still had ice near them.

Have spent a fair number of years diving in the Lake Superior ice pressure ridges so attached a picture of a dive buddy!!! We have dove in ice that has gone as deep as 100 feet. Argon in the dry suit gives one about an extra 10 minutes of comfort.
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Old 13-04-2013, 10:39   #24
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Re: Hypothermia - Read this!

Working as a rigger on Lake Washington, I was instructed if I fell in, to not spend any time or energy trying to swim, spend all my time and energy yelling (screaming) for help.
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Old 13-04-2013, 11:03   #25
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Re: Hypothermia - Read this!

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post

IIRC shivering is a good sign, or at least no shivering is a bad sign.

This pretty much the same as my understanding.........

Hypothermia Treatment

I like the idea of getting naked and using body heat to warm someone up - note to self: only have female crew .
Yes shivering is good.

In my Adventure Medic courses they no longer recommend the naked in the sleeping bag trick. You get two hypothermic people.
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Old 13-04-2013, 11:05   #26
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Re: Hypothermia - Read this!

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
The article is excellent, especially in identifying initial immersion as one of the most dangerous points. It's hard to explain the systemic shock that your body goes through when you hit very cold water. The strongest swimmer can drown in seconds if you can't manage this shock -- and this is where a lifejacket is essential.
There is also a gasp response which will fill your lungs with water. If you are going over, pinch your nose and cover your mouth. Probably easier said than done.
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Old 13-04-2013, 11:28   #27
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Re: Hypothermia - Read this!

At about 17 years of age I went overboard at night off a towboat that hit Race Rocks off Victoria BC in February. We were about 1/2 mile from shore and I managed to swim, breast stroke, dogpaddle towards some lights on the shore that never seemed to get any brighter (tide ?). My feet finally touched bottom and it took what little remaining energy to crawl up the shallow bank to a parking area where I got the attention of a couple in a car. I was fully clothed but soaking wet except my sea boots because I was sleeping in my clothes below when we hit the rocks (mate had fallen asleep at the wheel). I recall only having one woolen sock on when I got to the beach.
They drove me to hospital in Victoria where I spent 3 days recovering, first 12 hours sleeping then woke up shivering that went on for over 24 hours then just ached all over for the next day or so. No appetite, very tired and sleepy.
I've been told what saved my life was being clothed as it kept the worst of the cold out and, of course, being young, fit and stupid.
The skipper showed up on day 2 in the hospital thinking I had drowned but was still pissed at the mate for runing us aground. He said they searched everywhere for me until it got daylight then the Canadian Coast guard took over the search. First thing they did was check the hospitals in the area which was how they found me.
Name of the towboat was the Scotch Fir out of Pender Harbor and skipper was Doug Rust, long dead now, I figure. I looked through newspaper archives around that time but couldn't find any reports. It was 1958-1959 timeframe. If anyone can find a record of the event, I'd appreciate a copy because I'm writing a journal of my adventures as a young man on the BC coast commercial fishing and towboating for my grandchildren. Cheers, Phil
It was my first and last adventure with hypothermia! Phil
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Old 13-04-2013, 12:17   #28
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Re: Hypothermia - Read this!

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Originally Posted by deluxe68 View Post
Thanks for posting. Around 1935-1940 the Nazis did some research on cold water survival and if IIRC the biggest factor was body fat. Skinny people do not last long even if they are marathoners.
So, Goebbels wouldn't have made it but Goering would have? Too bad.
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Old 13-04-2013, 13:52   #29
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Re: Hypothermia - Read this!

Quote:
Thanks for posting. Around 1935-1940 the Nazis did some research on cold water survival and if IIRC the biggest factor was body fat. Skinny people do not last long even if they are marathoners.
The experiments were conducted at Dachau Concentration Camp by a team acting on orders of Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler, and headed by Drs. Rascher, Holzloehner, and Finke. The project had originally been proposed by Luftwaffe Generalfeldmarschall Erhard Milch to investigate the effects of hypothermia on downed pilots and to investigate ways of improving their chances of survival.

The experiments were carried out between August of 1942 and May 1943. Of 280 to 300 subjects (mostly male civilian prisoners of various nationalities and Russian prisoners of war), 80 to 90 died during the course of the experiments and only two are known to have survived the war. The finished report is of questionable value due to the unscientific manner in which the experiments were conducted. Even SS Gruppenführer Karl Gebhardt, chief surgeon of the Reichsstab and head of the German Red Cross, was critical of the finished report. Nevertheless, some aspects of the study have been found to be relatively in line with modern theory.
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Old 13-04-2013, 13:53   #30
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Re: Hypothermia - Read this!

Here are the statistics I was looking for:

Lifesaving Society Facts


In 2004, 410 people drowned in Canada,
130 were boating.
Cold Water
60% drowned in water under 10 degrees C
34% drowned in water between 10 – 20 degrees C
LIFEJACKETS
Only 12% were properly wearing a lifejacket
2% were improperly wearing a lifejacket
DISTANCE FROM SHORE
43% were less than 2 metres from shore/safety *
66% were less than 15 metres from shore/safety*

From http://www.coldwaterbootcamp.com/pages/home.html
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