Cold water can be a major threat to kayakers even on a beautiful summers day.
The most obvious danger with cold water is Hypothermia. Learn to look for the symptoms in your paddling partners and keep a close eye on each other throughout a paddling day. Symptoms can show early than you think and if caught and treated at the first sign or better still avoided by noticing the tell tale signs before you even set off, can prevent a great day turning into a nightmare day.
Simple things like dressing properly, shortening your boating sessions, and keeping a thermos full of a warm drink in your boat can help make a cold water session more enjoyable. It can be strange packing up a hot drink or paddling in cold water weather gear, especially on a beautiful summers day. But it really can make a big difference. Get good kit, thats not to bulky or restrictive, test it out and get used to wearing it. Remember dress for the swim! Trying to extract a paddler with Hypothermia from a river can be long, arduous and dangerous. Prevention is the best solution! Be ready and be alert.
Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when a persons core body temperature begins to fall. It doesn’t take much of a drop in temperature to become a major emergency situation. There are two different types of Hypothermia both of which can effect us as kayakers. One is caused by getting cold over a longer period of time the other is caused by quickly being immersed into the cold. The key is to be prepared and to be aware of your situation and the situation of the rest of the group.
Be alert, dress appropriatly and keep an eye out for others in your paddling group.
Sign up for a wilderness first aid course so you know what to do to keep you and your friends safe should an emergency occur.