The Coast Guard reminds recreational boaters and paddlers to be aware of the risks involving cold water drownings.
Even as the Pacific Northwest heads into warmer weather, it can still take many months for the rivers, lakes, and waterways to catch up. The water may be significantly colder than the outside ambient temperature.
Always wear a life jacket while out on the water. There is no time to don a life jacket when an accident or emergency occurs. The best vest is the one you wear.
“While hypothermia is a real concern, the true cause of most drownings this time of year is the rapid loss of one’s ability to swim or tread water due to cold water immersion,” said Capt. Nathan Coulter, chief of incident management for the 13th Coast Guard District.
“Water temperatures in lakes and rivers are still near 50 degrees. If you enter water at those temperatures without a wet-suit or personal flotation device, you may have less than 10 minutes to survive. Stay safe by dressing for the water temperature, not the air temperature.”