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Thursday, 05 November 2015 17:31

Cold Water Immersion

Here is a quick link to our free in store cold water safety talk on Thursday November 12th at 6pm.

 It’s that time of year again - paddlers are getting into trouble because of warm air temperatures and cold water. We talk about this every spring and fall, but we can’t emphasize it enough. We have been getting multiple phone calls a day from people looking to rent a canoe or kayak because of the unseasonably warm air temperatures. While 99% of paddle shops in Ontario have stopped renting because of the risks involved with paddling this time of year, we are still operating our rental services. In order to keep people safe, we require proof of a drysuit for all paddlers.

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Cold water kills people every year because they are not adequately dressed for the water temperature. Paddlers often dress for the air temperature, not the water, which can end up being a fatal mistake. People often assume that because they are strong swimmers, have paddling experience or are staying close to shore that the risks don’t apply. Wrong. The truth is we are all at risk, so please help us educate anyone you see paddling in cold water.

You could be very close to shore and an Olympic Arctic swimmer who has never capsized a boat in your life - but when you do capsize, things can go downhill fast. If you capsize without wearing a thick wetsuit (more than 3mm) or drysuit, just 2 minutes of sudden cold water immersion may prevent you from swimming properly or being able to perform a self-rescue. What does this mean? If you’re wearing a PFD you will stay above water, but cold water shock and hypothermia will set in quickly and cause serious consequences - including death. If you aren’t wearing a PFD, your chances of survival are even less.

While we don’t want to scare anyone off paddling, we think it’s crucial to stress the dangers of being unprepared in cold water. Paddling is extremely fun and can be very, very safe if you follow a few simple rules. We paddle safely all year round, and love practicing our rescues in freezing water. It can be warm and safe when dressed appropriately, and with the proper precautions. Have any questions? Feel free to come into the store or give us a call to pick our brains.

We will be holding a free cold water safety talk on Thursday November 12th at 6pm for anyone interested. We also have pool courses on rescue techniques, on-water courses, and have drysuits in stock at our store. For more information on our upcoming events please visit our event page here.

Paddle safe!

Kelly McDowell


The Complete Paddler

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