Puffy life jacket

Boater Safety In Cold Weather

Spring fishing season is almost upon us, actually it is here, but the weather is a little slow catching up to it, because it’s pretty darn cold for trolling a lake in an open boat. At least for someone like me with my tender skin…..

With the advent of fishing season it seems a good time to remind you to wear your personal floatation device (PFD) life jacket whenever you are in a boat. It’s just a good idea.

Even if you are a great swimmer, or you local boater laws and boating regulations don’t require you to, it is still a good idea.

You aren’t going to last long in icy cold spring lake water. In fact, you’ll be unconscious in about 20 minutes in 5 degree celcius water and long before you pass out, you’ll have difficulty moving your limbs to swim, not to mention dealing with that big mouthful of water that you gulped as you fell overboard….

Falling into the lake when the water is cold can cause all kinds of nasty stuff like shock, involuntary gasping, and hyperventilation. You’ll become a statistic, one of the approximately 150 folks who drown in Canada each year.

Especially if you are not wearing a PFD. All year, regardless of the season, you need to follow the boating laws and get your boaters licence and practice safe boating.

Pleasure Craft Operator Card

There are things you can do to help yourself if you fall overboard in cold water including, tucking your chin into your chest, bring your knees up and grab them with your arms.

If you have a life jacket on, you should be able to float that way and conserve some heat.

The life jacket will also give you a couple of minutes to assess your situation, help your buddy, and decide your course of action, i.e. stay with the boat or swim for shore. That depends on the situation if help is nearby or not etc.

There are other things you can do to increase boater safety, but my message is clear, wear your life jacket and don’t drink alcohol when you are boating.

If nothing else, fall into cold water wearing a PFD, you’ll float which will help the searchers to recover your body, making it easier on the family…..sad but true.

I’m nothing if not practical……:o)

On another note this is post number 600 of The Cottage Chronicles !!

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