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Old 25-11-2015, 10:58   #16
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

If you go overboard in cold water, you'll be dead quite soon, whereafter keeping still will come naturally; a better use of your time and energy would be asking: How do I make sure I don't go overboard in the first place?
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Old 25-11-2015, 11:03   #17
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

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Originally Posted by darsunt View Post
I've read that hypothermia is the main concern when going overboard.
Actually, not true. Hypothermia takes a surprising amount of time to incapacitate you, and then to kill you. A much bigger issue is Cold Shock Response upon immersion, which causes a few death-promoting reactions:

1. You gasp involuntarily, sometimes underwater depending on how you went into the water. This starts the drowning sequence.
2. You cannot control your breathing, which may be 20-30 times per minute, regardless of whether you have a clear airway.
3. Your heart rate rises rapidly, which can be tough on old tickers.

The second, related, issue is Swim Failure, or the inability to maintain an airway. Life jackets obviously go a long way towards mitigating swim failure.

There are a lot of variables, but reducing heat loss and supporting your head with a high buoyancy life jacket are the keys to survival. Oh, and having a crew that is trained to come back to get you.

Chuck
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Old 25-11-2015, 11:07   #18
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
No.

OK ... LakeSuperior's answer is much better. He's absolutely right. Don't move, huddle in a small still ball, and you'll last longer. This will give you more time to be rescued.

But if you are in a place with little or no chance someone coming in time (like much of Lake Superior ), I say do everything you can to get out of the cold water. Get as much of your body out of the water. Swim for shore if there's any hope of making it.

Most importantly of all, don't fall in.
You have nailed it. If someone is on the way ball up if not swim like hell if there is a remote chance of getting out of the water. I believe in the later, burning the calories may make you warmer for the short haul?
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Old 25-11-2015, 12:02   #19
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

Use a tether and keep it short..............you don't want to be in cold water

A guy in the Single Handed Transpac Race (SHTP) also kept a loop of line hanging at the stern of his boat so he could get back onboard easily if he fell in after he was at " The End of The Tether...."

which by the way was a pretty good book by Joseph Conrad dated 1902.
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Old 25-11-2015, 12:40   #20
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

The message of this article is more about wearing a PFD but it's explanation about hyperthermia is worth reading:

The Truth About Cold Water - gCaptain

As far as the OP is concerned, I think the author's response would be, "don't swim..."
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Old 25-11-2015, 12:48   #21
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

Most all of my sailing is on the California Coast between San Francisco and San Diego where the water temps average 55 degrees so I am also one who believes in safety first. There should be no reason to end up in the water.
Everyone aboard wears auto-inflatable PFD's with harness 100% of the time (5 Mustangs aboard).
Jacklines are rigged on deck and in the cockpit.
Tethers are attached from harness to jacklines whenever leaving the cockpit.
Everyone tethers to cockpit jacklines in heavy weather.
At first it seems like a hassle but once you get used to it it feels weird not to do this.
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Old 25-11-2015, 13:14   #22
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

I want to tell the story of two men who drowned in Lake Tahoe at Camp Richardson. Lake Tahoe is a deep alpine Lake that sits between California and Nevada. The lake is very cold year round due to snow melt off and high altitiude. Even on a warm day at the peak of the summer season you can barely tolerate entering the water up to waist level.
These guys were working on the mooring field during the Spring to get the resort ready for the season. They were less than 50 feet from the end of the pier. Depth of water was approximately 15-20 foot. Somehow they tipped over and both ended up drowning. Both were excellent swimmers and in good health. Seems like my memory fails me as to their age…but suffice it to say they were not old guys.
Icy water, if you have never experienced it is “chilling!” It has a way to paralyze you that is incomprehensible unless experienced. You can lose almost complete muscular control of your limbs in less than a minute. People heard and saw these two men’s predicament. Rescue response time was less than 10 minutes. They had already drown in less than 3 minutes. They recovered their bodies in less than 10 feet of water. They estimated they had swam less than 10-20 feet before muscular spasms had made their limbs useless. The statement …next to the boat is dead is absolutely correct in icy waters. Commercial fishing boats in Alaska carry survival suits that are very expensive and best technology available. In icy waters up there, someone else would have to jump in to tell how long you can survive once in the brine. But I know it is just a handful of hours…maybe a little longer.
One of the morbid jokes about sailors is how many of them are fished out of the ocean dead who had either their zippers down or their pants half off. You can imagine what activities they were doing when their fate seized its opportunity to snatch their lives away. You can even die in warm water from hypothermia if left in too long. Man overboard drills are important. But do you realize that even if you can get back to the person overboard in time, will the person in trouble even be able to use his hands and arms to grab a pole, rope, or sling? Combine that with visibility in stormy conditions, sailing a reciprocal course with leeway and accurate steering in panic mode….pretty much death on a stick mate.
If you go overboard in cold water and you were singlehanded…your chances are very slim to survive. If the water is cool or temperate you have some chance of survival. If water is warm and you have a way to get your dumb arse back on board you will survive.
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Old 25-11-2015, 13:31   #23
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

A thumbs up to Lizzy Belle! Dutch can be very pithy :-)!

In TrentePieds "new people" are taught before we depart to tie a clovehitch (w/half-hitch) around the binnacle stanchions. With one hand. Then they get "the lecture", the one with the big, gilt, illuminated initials, about being able to do that in the dark. While being dragged underwater. And the one about "one hand for you..."

The Lecture is a bit of histrionics, but it makes people realize that I'm serious, it and makes them remember it.

Much more low key, I ask people during the passage "just to show me". We play that game until I'm sure they've got it.

One of my motivators for being so rigorous is that TrentePieds has a mast-furling main. Utter silliness in our waters, and to be remedied at haul-out time. But worse: It totally precludes use of the old SOP of dropping the main over the side, slipping the MOB into the bunt and parbuckling him up, using the halyard and winch, until his weight within the bunt makes it slide over the lifelines and onto deck. There is no realistic hope that I, by myself, without mechanical help, could get even a small woman up a 30 inch freeboard and over the "life lines". The mandatory "boarding ladder" is a shorebound bureaucrat's joke. There is NO way a MOB, after the thermal shock of going in at all, could even grasp the rungs, let alone climb it.

TrentePieds
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Old 25-11-2015, 13:42   #24
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

Quote:
Originally Posted by anacapaisland42 View Post
If you're in a lake try to stay in the top 2 to 3 feet, there's a heck of a difference between water temp down 5 feet and the surface.
Bill

yeah, this ones top advice. Highly recommend this one.
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Old 25-11-2015, 13:55   #25
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Hawley View Post
Actually, not true. Hypothermia takes a surprising amount of time to incapacitate you, and then to kill you. A much bigger issue is Cold Shock Response upon immersion, which causes a few death-promoting reactions:

1. You gasp involuntarily, sometimes underwater depending on how you went into the water. This starts the drowning sequence.
2. You cannot control your breathing, which may be 20-30 times per minute, regardless of whether you have a clear airway.
3. Your heart rate rises rapidly, which can be tough on old tickers.

The second, related, issue is Swim Failure, or the inability to maintain an airway. Life jackets obviously go a long way towards mitigating swim failure.

There are a lot of variables, but reducing heat loss and supporting your head with a high buoyancy life jacket are the keys to survival. Oh, and having a crew that is trained to come back to get you.

Chuck
This post has some truth and some misinformation in it. Hypothermia IS the biggest problem with going over.

It is true, that the sudden shock of falling in cold water, and in fact, falling in any water when your not expecting it can cause your body to automatically do things that lead to your sudden drowning. I cringe when I see sailors out in heavy weather and they wonder around in their video's with no tether. They don't seem to understand that the shock of suddenly and unexpectedly of being dumped is the reason many people report of their crew or passanger having fallen over not coming back up to the surface. You don't have to be intoxicated for this to happen, though intoxication increases this likelyhood.

But, hypothermia is without doubt the main concern in most waters, not just exceptionaly cold waters. There's no set rule, other than the colder it is the faster hypothermia takes to debilitate. Between 10 and 20 minutes is the general survival time in all frigid waters.
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Old 25-11-2015, 14:11   #26
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

Wet weather gear makes a huge difference, pull the wrist, ankle, neck and waist straps tight. Try to tuck up as you fall to trap air in your legs, don't go vertical or the air escapes.

Cold shock is nasty, but for some reason swimming in Antarctica didn't trigger it for any of the 5 of us that swam. Maybe because we were used to the cold, or expecting it and were mentally prepared? But I have also seen a lady suffer from cold shock in a 24 deg celcuis pool. Only the life jacket kept her afloat and alive for the minute or so that she was uncontrolably gasping and panting. So it's not just a cold water phenomenon.

In cold water someone falling overboard at anchor or on the dock can also be fatal. Crew had to wear lifejackets on deck at all times in Antarctica for that reason, especially important while alone on anchor watch, fending off Iceburgs.

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Old 25-11-2015, 14:12   #27
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

The last, and best, safety at sea seminar I went to was conducted by a former CG Rescue Swimmer. He gave the best safety advice in simplest terms: Keep everything that is supposed to be in the boat, in the boat. Keep things that are not supposed to be in the boat, out of the boat.

I use tethers and jacklines, and I use SHORT tethers- as I am short. I don't want to drown being dragged alongside a boat on a tether. What a horrible predicament that would be---- drown alongside your boat as you are dragged, or release the tether and just be lost at sea...........Don't like either of those options.
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Old 25-11-2015, 14:19   #28
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

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Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
Wet weather gear makes a huge difference, pull the wrist, ankle, neck and waist straps tight. Try to tuck up as you fall to trap air in your legs, don't go vertical or the air escapes.

Cold shock is nasty, but for some reason swimming in Antarctica didn't trigger it for any of the 5 of us that swam. Maybe because we were used to the cold, or expecting it and were mentally prepared? But I have also seen a lady suffer from cold shock in a 24 deg celcuis pool. Only the life jacket kept her afloat and alive for the minute or so that she was uncontrolably gasping and panting. So it's not just a cold water phenomenon.

In cold water someone falling overboard at anchor or on the dock can also be fatal. Crew had to wear lifejackets on deck at all times in Antarctica for that reason, especially important while alone on anchor watch, fending off Iceburgs.

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Definately not. Your familiar with our Launceston Gorge which has some very deep areas to it. Surrounded with rocks to jump off and all fresh water. A popular swimming spot in summer. And yet young people diving into the depths have not come up. They suddenly enter exceptionally cold water and one of the things they may do is try to breath. Likewise a sailor suddenly hit into water by a boom when not expecting it, possibly winded by the hit, takes a gasp of air when under water.
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Old 25-11-2015, 14:33   #29
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

Extreme cold makes you unable to swim, if without a life jacket. Unconsciousness quickly follows. Then you drown if you don't have a PFD.

To quote Mario Vittone directly:

It is impossible to get hypothermic in cold water unless you are wearing flotation, because without flotation you wont live long enough to become hypothermic.

- See more at: Cold Water Survival – The 1-10-1 Rule « Coast Guard Auxiliary Live

If you have a PFD, you are buying time, but it is measured in minutes, not hours (less than 50 degrees F) - likely not more than 60 minutes or so.

If you have a survival suit, you bought a few to several hours.

In a life raft, you bought a few days.

Here's a pretty good link that gets into specifics:

Cold Water Survival

From the USCG:http://www.uscg.mil/pvs/docs/coldwater1.pdf


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Old 25-11-2015, 14:37   #30
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

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Originally Posted by sailing_gal View Post
The last, and best, safety at sea seminar I went to was conducted by a former CG Rescue Swimmer. He gave the best safety advice in simplest terms: Keep everything that is supposed to be in the boat, in the boat. Keep things that are not supposed to be in the boat, out of the boat.

I use tethers and jacklines, and I use SHORT tethers- as I am short. I don't want to drown being dragged alongside a boat on a tether. What a horrible predicament that would be---- drown alongside your boat as you are dragged, or release the tether and just be lost at sea...........Don't like either of those options.
I recommend short tethers for all, both short and tall persons. Being dragged by a boat that is still moving is not a nice position to be in. Better to have the tethers so short that it is not possible to fall out of the boat.
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