Coast Guard, State Parks Boating Program encourage cold-water safety

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The Coast Guard and Washington State Parks’ Boating Program encourage recreational boaters and paddlers to know the risks of accidental cold-water immersion. While air temperatures may be rising, water temperatures in Washington state waterways remain cold. 

Always wear a life jacket while out on the water. 

“Boaters who experience accidental cold-water immersion are threatened by multiple stages of risk, but many people only know about hypothermia,” said Rob Sendak, Boating Program manager. “Those who survive in cold water long enough to get hypothermia are lucky. A fall into cold water can drown a person within minutes due to cold-water shock.”


According to Frank Golden and Michael Tipton, internationally recognized experts in cold-water survival, water below 60 degrees Fahrenheit is immediately life-threatening — and many Washington waterways stay below 60 degrees Fahrenheit year round.

Sudden cold-water immersion makes it difficult, if not impossible, for boaters to keep their heads above water and stay afloat. Boating fatality statistics have shown that wearing a life jacket gives boaters the best chance of survival in the event of an accident, especially in cold water.



Small vessels such as kayaks, canoes, rafts and open motorboats less than 21-feet long are the most vulnerable to capsizing, but all boaters and paddlers should be prepared and follow these guidelines:

For more information about cold-water immersion, visithttps://parks.state.wa.us/DocumentCenter/View/13899/Cold-Water-Immersion-Fact-Sheet-2019_State-Parks-Boating-Program-&source=gmail&ust=1556721348457000&usg=AFQjCNGNfNn8Qf6dudETZJ86GFKKZttKhg" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);"> https://bit.ly/2Gl9YqN

About the Washington State Boating Program

Washington State Parks administers the state’s Boating Program, which provides leadership in boating safety and environmental education and outreach. The goal of the program is to reduce accidents and fatalities, increase stewardship of Washington waterways, and keep recreational boating a safe, accessible and enjoyable pastime. For more information on the Boating Program, visit:https://parks.state.wa.us/435/Boating&source=gmail&ust=1556721348457000&usg=AFQjCNEWwl_0-Yc2APks_TLaunCXZq5Vow" style="color: rgb(17, 85, 204);"> www.washingtonstateparks.us/Boating