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GLIN==> Press release: NY Sea Grant urges winter water survival awareness, find resources online



Title: Press release: NY Sea Grant urges winter water survival awareness, find resources online
PRESS RELEASE:  November 30, 2007
Contact:  David G. White, New York Sea Grant, Oswego, NY, 315-312-3042
 
jpg: New York Sea Grant is providing resources for to help those who work or play around water in the winter to dress properly for safety. David G. White is seen inflating the back panel of his float suit – a water-resistant, insulated flotation device worn as clothing. Some float coat models are US Coast Guard-approved as Type III floatation devices. Photo: NY Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant Urges Winter Water Survival Awareness; Find Resources Online

Oswego, NY – Whether you work or play around the water this winter, use caution and protective clothing, says New York Sea Grant Recreation and Tourism Specialist David G. White. New York Sea Grant provides winter water survival information resources online at www.nysgextension.org.

“Have a plan to safely enjoy winter on or around the waters of New York this winter and know how to contact emergency services before you arrive at your destination,” White says. “Learn the signs of hypothermia. Hypothermia can occur even when the air temperature is as warm as 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit. The water temperature of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie reaches temperatures below 40 degrees from November through May.”

Hypothermia occurs when a person loses body heat to a point that normal muscle and mental abilities are impaired. Each person reacts differently to the heat loss; age, body weight, and health all affect the ability to deal with air and water temperatures. The signs of hypothermia progress as the body core temperature drops and include numbness; uncontrollable shivering which may decrease as your condition worsens; awkward body movements, clumsiness, or falling; slurred speech; and confusion.

“For ice anglers who enjoy fishing the fresh cold waters of New York, the first rules should always be to check the thickness of the ice on your chosen body of water and be aware of your footing. Watch for weak spots that can form anywhere on an ice surface,” White says.

White reminds anglers, snowmobilers and other winter recreationists that dressing in layers helps conserve heat, and prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Those around water should wear a personal flotation device (PFD) even in winter. Those at higher risk of falling into winter water such as marina staff and rescue workers may want to invest in a float coat. A float coat is a water-resistant, insulated floatation device worn as a coat. Some models are US Coast Guard-approved as Type III flotation devices.

White says, “Hypothermia compromises the ability to float. If you fall into cold water, take the HELP -- Heat Escape Lessening Posture. Draw your knees up to your chest and cross your arms in front of you. Two or more people can huddle together to share warmth.”

He adds, “You should also know about how to properly treat hypothermia if professional medical or rescue personnel are not immediately available. Find shelter, dry out, wrap in dry clothing or a dry sleeping bag, and gradually warm the body core first rather than the arms and legs. Warm, not hot, non-alcoholic liquids without caffeine should be provided to drink,” White adds.

New York Sea Grant provides winter water survival information resources online at www.nysgextension.org. # # #




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