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Old 29-11-2015, 14:58   #76
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

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I've heard the rules are different in Australia. I've been in 0C water (dry suit), and even -2C water, but never below freezing.

( sorry, couldn't help myself)

Only once did I ever go in 30-something water without appropriate gear, something of an emergency. But I had been working hard and was slightly over heated (helps a lot), was wearing wind blocker fleece, and was able to walking into the water. Still cold. It is not at all hard to imagine someone taking an involuntary gulp if it was a surprise.


well, just so everyone else knows that at least over here, '0' or '32f' is freezing, so if it's below that it's termed 'below freezing'. Though I was being careless, the water down here in winter reaches typically about 13C. Outside temp can reach -5 as it did this year.

During my police training days in the late 80's the moron's had us piglets doing swimming and push ups in the water in the Derwent in June/July.. Some crap about toughening us up..
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Old 29-11-2015, 15:00   #77
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

This is why I love living in Florida!
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Old 01-01-2016, 18:31   #78
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

The Heat Escape Lessoning Position HELP and Huddle positions cannot be performed without a PFD.
So, if you go in without floatation, you might as well swim. You'll exert the same amount of energy and exposure either way.
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Old 01-01-2016, 18:51   #79
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

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The Heat Escape Lessoning Position HELP and Huddle positions cannot be performed without a PFD.
So, if you go in without floatation, you might as well swim. You'll exert the same amount of energy and exposure either way.
Good point, and you can't effectively put yourself in the HELP posture unless you have a high buoyancy life jacket at that. Even a Type I (in the U.S.) will be pretty unstable if you pull your knees to your chest. An inflatable with 150N of buoyancy is about your only choice to maintain this position.

Having said that, foam life jackets reduce heat loss from the axillary (armpit and sides of the chest) area, which allows a lot of heat loss due to the low fat content and high blood circulation.

Life, as always, is a compromise.

Chuck Hawley

PS: Happy New Year everyone!
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Old 02-01-2016, 08:55   #80
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

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Good point, and you can't effectively put yourself in the HELP posture unless you have a high buoyancy life jacket at that. Even a Type I (in the U.S.) will be pretty unstable if you pull your knees to your chest. An inflatable with 150N of buoyancy is about your only choice to maintain this position.

Having said that, foam life jackets reduce heat loss from the axillary (armpit and sides of the chest) area, which allows a lot of heat loss due to the low fat content and high blood circulation.

Life, as always, is a compromise.

Chuck Hawley

PS: Happy New Year everyone!
Happy new year Chuck! You are correct about the high buoyancy inflatable vest which provides 35 + lbs. buoyancy. The foam jacket will help to close off some of these critical heat loss areas, but it only provides 15 lbs. of buoyancy. The lack of buoyancy on the foam vest will cause you to bob in the water, causing your head and neck to completely submerge (two other critical heat loss areas).
The five heat loss areas are the head, neck, armpits, sides of chest (core area), and groin. A correct HELP position should close off the neck, armpits, chest sides, and groin. If you are wearing a hat, that will help protect heat loss from the head.

I wrote an article called Hypothermia in the Gulf?. It's on my website and I am not allowed to link you to it, but if you Google the title you will find it.

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Old 09-01-2016, 13:52   #81
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

Very cool AST....
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Old 10-01-2016, 09:39   #82
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

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Very cool AST....
Thank you,
I checked out your website and I'm very impressed. I would recommend anyone who is learning to sail, or thinking about sailing, to check out the Curious Sailor link. Not only does he give a very through description of every nautical term, he also provides origins of the terms. Good advice on projects, etc. Very nicely done Sir.
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Old 10-01-2016, 09:58   #83
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht - Professor Popsicle and 1-10-1 principle.

https://youtu.be/aowQ9bthgBQ?list=PLD6057A09C6511142
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Old 10-01-2016, 10:50   #84
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

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Just a point of clarification on this issue of 'shock syndrome'. There are two different things being talked about.

1) One is where sudden cold has an unexpected and immediate affect on the body. This can be experienced with people jump off things, especially into rivers and two meters below the water the temp is way below that of the surface. I'm a little mystyfied that some people are disputing this. It's a fact. It's the most common killer of people jumping into some of our fresh water watering holes. (Then there is the hitting head etc) For sailors, this is a problem in 'some areas' but I doubt it's that common.

2) The most common problem sailors can experience that contributes to huge but unknown numbers of deaths, is where the sailor/boat person, is not expecting to go in. Such as a sudden dumping from a jibe, or wave coming over the boat. Without warning the sailor has no time to take a breath or the 'thump' expells air and as soon as they land they gasp in air but are under water when they do it. They just don't come to the surface.

Temperature can have something to do with it. Even down our way where we sail most of the year in cold water, we know it's often below freezing, but when your not expecting to go swimming that sudden dumping in cold water does strange things to your body (what others have described). Hense why a pfd is so important. But, you don't have to be in cold temperature zone's to be suddenly dumped overboard when you were not expecting it and to be immediately in trouble.

There's way too much opinion on this going on and honestly I don't understand why. Water Temperature can kill, sudden unexpected ditching can kill! Both are known facts. As sailors, that's what we need to plan for.
It's panic which causes breathing water. Shock of cold water might trigger the panic, as could sudden immersion. Some people panic in warm water for other reasons and inhale water...
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Old 10-01-2016, 11:11   #85
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

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It's panic which causes breathing water. Sh ock of cold water might trigger the panic, as could sudden immersion. Some people panic in warm water for other reasons and inhale water...
Might I suggest, People that panic have not spent enough time around and in the water. Exclude heated swimming pools.
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Old 10-01-2016, 12:44   #86
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

It is more than panic! When people find themselves in frigid waters it doesn't take long before you lose control of voluntary movement. That is real panic
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Old 10-01-2016, 13:08   #87
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

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It is more than panic! When people find themselves in frigid waters it doesn't take long before you lose control of voluntary movement. That is real panic
Your entirely correct. panic can lead to drowning, but it's not what drowns people.
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Old 10-01-2016, 13:44   #88
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

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I've read that hypothermia is the main concern when going overboard. So, assuming one has a life jacket, one should assume a seated position with head above water, and make no attempt to swim to conserve energy.
Now I swim a lot, and I know I can't bear cold water in a swimming pool unless I swim and generate some heat. So is it even possible to stay still in water when it feels so cold?
Hello Darsunt,
Yes, hypothermia is a main concern any time you go overboard. The five heat loss areas are the head, neck, under-arms, sides of chest, and groin. The heat escape lessening position HELP closes off these areas from conduction (direct contact with the colder water) and convection caused by moving water.
The same analogy could be used by placing a ice cube next to a glass of 70 degree water and then placing a second ice cube into the glass of water We know that because the body of water is much larger than the volume of the ice cube, it will melt the ice cube much faster than the one sitting in the ambient air next to the glass. Stir the water and it melts even faster. This is conduction and convection. Now add the pressure from the water as it compresses against your body as you maintain a vertical position (highest pressure at the feet). This is why it is said that you lose your body temperature twenty-five times faster in the water. By swimming, you will speed up your heat loss (removal) by allowing yet more movement of cold water across these heat loss areas.
There have been extraordinary cases where people have swam for long distances in cold water and they defied the hypothermia chart that we use today. These are very rare cases and acclimation had some relevance.
If you see land close by and if the current is with you, go for it, but don't go into that front crawl stroke. Get on your back, keep your arms against your sides and kick while keeping your legs as close together as you can.
You cannot perform the HELP position unless you are wearing a PFD. a foam vest will provide around 15 lbs. of buoyancy and a inflatable vest will provide up to 36 lbs. of buoyancy. By using a inflatable vest, you will sit higher in the water, helping to lift the core (heart) area higher on the surface. By climbing out of the water onto a floating structure, you increase your time significantly. A liferaft improves your chances considerably.
Now, what I told you is that you're pretty much screwed if you go in. I'm not going to follow suit by telling you not to go into the water (duh), but instead be prepared for that possibility should you happen to go in from a fall, capsize, or sinking. It happens and it can happen to even the most experienced sailor out there. The key component for survival in water is the life vest. If it is not on you when you go in, your last action will be swimming after your faster moving boat. Some will come on and say, you're just prolonging the inevitable. If you are prepared and have a PLB or radio attached to your life vest or belt, you can get help on the way. They know your situation and will be coming as fast as they can. Many survivors were rescued and revived even after moderate hypothermia from long exposure in the water. Never give up.

The will to live is not for you, the will to live is for your loved ones.
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Old 10-01-2016, 14:06   #89
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

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It's panic which causes breathing water. Shock of cold water might trigger the panic, as could sudden immersion. Some people panic in warm water for other reasons and inhale water...
Two events happen when you suddenly submerse in cold water. You will gasp and you will hyperventilate. It's called the Gasp Reflex or the Torso Reflex.
I had it happen to me while on land. I just made Senior Chief and the guys in my shop locked me in a cage and turned a high pressure water hose on me. It was so cold all I could do was gasp for air. I was probably close to passing out when one of them saw my eyes and called it off. It's a natural reflex and has nothing to do with panic.
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Old 10-01-2016, 14:26   #90
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Re: If go overboard, how can one keep still in cold water?

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Thank you,
I checked out your website and I'm very impressed. I would recommend anyone who is learning to sail, or thinking about sailing, to check out the Curious Sailor link. Not only does he give a very through description of every nautical term, he also provides origins of the terms. Good advice on projects, etc. Very nicely done Sir.
Firstly, I thank you for your service! Secondly, I am both honored and humbled to receive such a wonderful compliment. You and many others like you on this forum are the source of the knowledge that I gain and share throughout my quest to become a seasoned Sailor.... Thank you again Sir!

The Curious Sailor
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