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Each year, New England residents safely enjoy boating, fishing, ice skating, and ice fishing, but many are injured from exposure to cold water. Skaters and ice fishermen fall through the ice and boaters capsize. Hikers sometimes have to camp overnight in harsh weather conditions. Unleashed pets run onto ice and people chase them. Learn safety tips about cold water exposure.
Each year many people are injured from exposure to cold water. Learn how to protect yourself and others.
Any water that is cooler than normal body temperature (98.6˚ F) is cold water. Cold water drains away body heat 25 to 30 times faster than air. Cold water does not have to be icy, it just has to be colder than you are to cause hypothermia. The lower the temperature of the water, the faster the onset of hypothermia.
Hypothermia is the extreme lowering of body temperature. Core body temperature below 95˚F causes shivering, confusion, and loss of muscle strength. If not treated and reversed, hypothermia leads to unconsciousness and death. Experts estimate that half of all drowning victims die from hypothermia, not from water-filled lungs.