2018 New York State Boater's Guide - 51
to attract attention when in the vicinity of power and sail vessels.
The U.S. Coast Guard also suggests that paddlers write their name
and contact information under the front deck of their boats so as
to avoid needless searches that may occur when paddle craft are
found adrift, presumably missing their operator.
Cold Water Immersion
Paddlers and sportsmen often boat during the early and late
seasons when water temperatures are
cold. Boaters are required by law to
wear a life jacket from Nov. 1 to May 1 on
all boats less than 21 feet when underway. In addition a boater should dress
for the water, not the air temperature,
as a boater who capsizes or swamps in
cold water can be in an immediate life
threatening situation. Cold water immersion has four phases: upon immersion
cold shock occurs which can include
involuntary gasping, hyperventilation, panic, and possible cardiac
arrest. Between 3 to 30 minutes later swimming failure may occur
as muscles and nerves quickly cool and the victim looses motor
control along with the ability to
self rescue. Next, hypothermia, typically occurs after 30
minutes in the water which can
then lead to unconsciousness
and death. Last is post-immersion collapse. This can occur
during or after rescue due to
damage to lungs and heart as
cold blood returns to the core
area from the arms and legs.
To survive a cold water
immersion, try reboarding or
climbing on top of your boat,
slow heat loss by huddling up and do not remove clothing even
if it is wet, use a whistle or visual distress signal to summon help.
Leave a float plan so authorities can be called should you fail to
return on time.