Do yourself a favor and wear a life jacket and review the principle. Victims that have been in cold water require different CPR techniques. The Cold Water Boot Camp USA projects have prompted the development of cutting edge rescue techniques and medical procedures geared toward victims that have been exposed to cold water. The skills covered in Rescue, Recover, Rewarm are vital to first responders to minimize fatalities and severe long term effects. Many victims drown just feet from safety. When a victim sees the shore and thinks they are safe, their body stops releasing adrenaline.
Unfortunately, without that adrenaline, their body sometimes freezes up and they literally cannot move another inch. In many of these cases, the victim drowns simply because they thought they had reached safety. Many of our boot-campers experience this when they reach the shore and find themselves unable to move.
This is an example of how the skills covered in Rescue, Recover, Rewarm can be used by responders to save lives.
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Even good swimmers drown. When exposed to cold water, people in great shape that are amazing swimmers experience the gasping, the shock, the inability to move, and the potential to drown. All of our boot-campers were chosen for their above average knowledge of cold water safety and their above average physical conditions and swimming skills. All that and they still had the same problems that many victims experience.
Cold Water Hazards and Safety
Share in their experiences while staying dry! I learned this the hard way when doing the Alcatraz swim in 52 degree water with a sleeveless, Farmer John-style suit.
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By the time I finished, I was in the early stages of frostbite. Keep in mind that, according to USA Triathlon rules, wetsuits are allowed at triathlons with water temperatures of 75 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Put in earplugs. When the water drops below 60 degrees, I think earplugs become necessary—and they do work well in keeping your core temperature up.
Practice swimming in cold water in the weeks before your race. At first, it can be a shock to your system that can lead to hyperventilating or a panicked feeling. You will want to swim slowly until you catch your breath.
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The first time you experience this it can throw you off, but with practice you will get used to it and be able to relax into your swim. Do a significant warm-up the morning of your race 10 to 15 minutes, minimum.
This will minimize the shock effect that cold water can have and allow you to get into a stroke rhythm much faster. Blow bubbles before taking off on your swim. When the cold water hits your face, the shock causes your lungs to contract, causing breathing problems. Go waist deep into the water and submerge your face to blow bubbles.
This helps alleviate the shock of the cold water. Use these tips not only to help your body tolerate cold water swimming, but to use it to your advantage and gain a leg up on your competition. Kevin operates the website www. The site features a free email newsletter offering tips and articles on triathlon swimming.
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Kevin has also written an electronic book titled The Complete Guide to Triathlon Swimming which is sold on his website in downloadable form. More Fitness And Swimming Articles. This is also one of the benefits of heated suits — when your core is warm, your body feels less need to shut off blood flow, so your feet stay warm and functioning for longer.
Spending a lot of time in cold water and strong winds is pretty disastrous for your skin and lips.
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No-one likes dry cracked lips, so do yourself a favour and rub in a liberal amount of moisturiser — the thicker and denser the better — before your session. Winter normally brings bigger and better waves — why else would you brave the hypothermia and ice-cream headaches? Pick something a little bigger and with more volume than your normal summer board, and your sessions will involve more stoke and less beatdowns.
Keep moving. Race to make it over the top of cleanup sets and try to avoid duck diving as much as possible. Surfing in really cold water is very tiring, as your body expends a lot of energy trying to stay warm. Head in while you still have some energy left to navigate the shore break. Always surf with a buddy, and keep an eye on each other. Watch out for signs of hypothermia. Try filling a big water bottle with boiling water before you leave the house.
Organise your towel and clothes before getting in the water, so everything is at hand in the right order to pull on quickly.