Winter weather boating

The cold weather is now upon us. As many other parts of the country are putting up their water crafts for the winter, we are still in full swing with duck hunting, deer hunting and of course fishing, which keeps us on the water all year long.

It’s time to start thinking about staying safe on the water during these cold days. As it is during all times, a life jacket is very important. A fall overboard can certainly ruin a day very fast. The sudden immersing into the cold water can have physical effects such as cardiac arrest. Hypothermia can set in fast due to the body losing heat 25 times faster in cold water compared to cold air.

If you are in a situation where you fall overboard, a whistle, which uses less energy than shouting, is a good tool to have attached to the life jacket for attracting attention.

Dress to stay warm. Using layers can help keep you warm and can be taken off in layers as it warms up throughout the day. As a rule, I like to dress as if it were 25 degrees cooler than it actually is. That wind can cut through you on a long morning boat ride. It’s also a good idea to bring along extra clothing in case you get wet. Wet clothing will not keep you warm and should be removed.

As you would during the warmer months, take the time to make certain your vessel is in good working order and have all the necessary safety equipment on board. A float plan is very important. File one and let a loved one know where you are going and when you will return.

NWS windchill chart

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