Winter Boating

By: News Release
Nov 7th, 2018

Winter is knocking at the door. Are you putting your boat up for the winter or are you planning to use it for some cold weather sports such as hunting or fishing? If the boating season is not yet over for you there are some important things you must consider.

Many unconsciously feel that accidents only happen to the OTHER guy.

Well it is quite possible that one day YOU will be that other guy. To drown or not to drown … that is the question you must answer.

If you are planning to be on the water this time of year the cold can be your mortal enemy especially if you are not prepared. Not only must you dress warm so you can enjoy your time on the water but you must also consider the possibility that you could end up in the water. Now no one plans on going swimming this time of year but accidents can and do happen. Always consider the “what if’ factor.

First: You should not be out there alone. Two or three of you stand a better chance working together than being alone. Consider the advantages of a second boat.

Second: Someone ashore should know where you are going, when you are expected back, the landing you will use and a good description of your vehicle, trailer and boat.

Third: You should be prepared in the event fate should strike. Have a way to signal for help; marine radio, cell phone, signal light, flare, horn or whistle. Dress warm but shy away from anything that will hold or collect water and weigh you down. Be careful with things such as waders that can fill up with water and become an anchor. Your first priority in survival equipment should be your life jacket. Wear it at all times when on or near the water. Your life jacket is useless unless you are wearing it. Once you are in the water it is too late.

In cold water your chances of survival are greatly diminished do to the effects of hypothermia. While hypothermia also occurs in open air, immersion in water draws heat from the body 25 times faster. After a short time in the water you begin to lose your ability to think clearly and to move effectively, all depending on the water temperature, your physical condition, what you are wearing, and what actions you take to conserve body heat.

Depending on the conditions you could become incapacitated in as little as 30 minutes. At this point your life jacket becomes your only hope. Keep in mind that in these conditions that swim to shore is a whole lot farther than it looks.

Should you end up in the water and you cannot get out and to someplace warm conserve your core body heat. Float with your knees held close to your chest and stay with your boat. If you can get out of the water, wrap yourself in warm dry blankets, either wool or a synthetic fabric designed for survival situations. Get to someplace warm as soon as possible. Consider the need for a trip to the emergency room.

Enjoy the river but be safe.

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the U. S. Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard in nearly all mission areas. The Auxiliary was created by Congress in 1939. For more information please visit