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Coast Guard offers advice for winter weather, survival tips

Nov 02, 2020 01:38PM ● By Editor
Units throughout the U.S. Coast Guard's Ninth District, which covers the Great Lakes region, conduct hundreds of ice rescue cases and training each winter. File photo

Compiled by Arielle Breen from the Manistee News Advocate - November 1, 2020

Lower temperatures and other weather changes of the season are ushering in challenges for mariners and outdoor enthusiasts in the Great Lakes region.

The U.S. Coast Guard is reminding people of the dangers presented by cold weather as cold air and water temperatures significantly decrease survival time for anyone immersed in the water or exposed to the elements.

Units throughout the Coast Guard Ninth District, which covers the Great Lakes region, conduct hundreds of ice rescue cases and training each winter.

Before heading out on the water, the Coast Guard asks people to remember the following:

1. Take precautions, not chances. The risk of death from accidental immersion during cold weather seasons is higher than in warm seasons. The water is colder and survival time is greatly diminished.

2. Dress for the water temperatures. Cold water lowers body heat dramatically faster than cold air. Even if one is not planning on entering the water, the possibility of that happening exists. An unexpected fall overboard is one of the leading factors in boating deaths.

3. Never leave without a VHF-FM radio or personal locator beacon and always be sure to tell someone where one plans to be going, when one is expected to return and advise them of any changes in the plan. Every minute counts in a cold-water environment and preparation may mean the difference between life and death. Freezing temperatures drain battery life in electronic devices quickly.

“Functional electronic distress signals, cell phones with fully charged batteries, and auditory distress signals should be on your person every time you go out,” said Petty Officer Second Class Adrian Ledesma, instructor at the National Ice Rescue School. “It is such a time critical mission, when dealing with distress in icy water.”

More information about cold water safety, recommended safety gear and tips for handling emergencies can be found online at the Cold Water Boot Camp website,

Mariners are encouraged to check forecast and water temperatures in preparation for their trips using local weather guidance or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association resources.

To read the original article and see related stories, follow this link to the Manistee Daily Advocate website.

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