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Boating in the Cold Weather

boats on a cold lake with snow in the backgroundMore states than ever before are experiencing cold winter months. While our neighbors in the north may be used to cold winters and feet of snow, those of us in North Carolina are more used to mild winters and tolerable temperatures. Whether you are staying at home this holiday season or heading up toward the Great Lakes, you may be planning on spending some of your time on the water.

While boating accidents can occur at any time of year, those that occur when the water temperatures drop can be especially dangerous. Being immersed in cold water, even for a short time, can put your at risk for hypothermia and, in the most severe cases, death. Here are some cold-weather boating tips to keep in mind before you head out.

1. Dress for the Water

You aren’t necessarily planning on entering the water of your own accord, but you could end up getting wet anyway. The acceptable rule if to dress for the temperature of the water, not the temperature of the air. Dress in multiple layers, making your base layer designed of fabric that wicks moisture away from your skin. Pack an extra set of clothing in a waterproof bag so you can change into something dry if you need to.

2. Eat and Drink

If you hope to maintain your internal temperature, you’ve got to keep your body fueled. Pack snacks that contain a fair amount of protein and pack at least a liter of water. It would also be a good idea to make coffee, tea or cocoa and put it in a thermos so you have something hot to drink.

3. Life Jacket

You must always have a life jacket on when you are in a boat. That said, it’s not a good idea to throw the first life jacket you see on if you don’t have your own. If you are a guest on someone’s boat, try on several available life jackets to find one that fits appropriately. If you do have multiple layers of clothing on, you’ll want to adjust straps accordingly.

4. Understand the Dangers

Even if you practice safety, you can still be involved in an accident. You need to understand how cold water can affect the body and the dangers it poses. Hypothermia will set in within 30 minutes of being submerged in the water. You will lose muscle coordination and find it impossible to swim. It will be more difficult to breathe and you may find your mental function inhibited. If someone falls overboard into the cold water, get them back into the boat as quickly as possible, dried off and into warm clothing.

If you are involved in a boating accident in North Carolina due to someone’s actions or negligence, you may have a case for compensation. Call our attorneys today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation and discover more about your legal options. Reach out to our office today or browse our website for more information about our firm and the types of cases we handle.

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