The Downtown Boathouse Cold Water Workshop

Highlights, Photos, & Notes on the Cold Water Workshop presented
by the New York Kayak Co. at the Downtown Boathouse, NYC.

Nov. 13, 1999
Page 4

After-drop Phenomenon

Continued core temperature drop immediately following the removal from the water.


- Heat conduction from the core to the periphery until homeostasis achieved
- Venous return of blood from the cold periphery to the warmer core

Factors for cold water survival

1. ability to swim

2. ability to keep head out of the water
3. ability to avoid panic
4. sea-state / water state
5. availability and type of personal flotation device
6. availability of life raft
7. water temperature
8. physical characteristics of the survivors
9. type of protective clothing
10. behavior of the survivor
11. availability of signaling devices
12. proximity of rescue personnel

Variables affecting cooling times in cold water

1. water temperature
2. survivorís percentage of body fat
3. type of protective clothing worn
4. survivorís behavior
5. percentage of survivorís body immersed in water

Expected cold water survival without protective clothing (From US Coast Guard)

T (0F) Exhaustion/Unconsciousness Expected survival

32 <15 minute 10-45minutes
32-40 15-30 minutes 40-90 minutes
40-50 30-60 minutes 1-3 hrs
50-60 1-2 hrs 1-6 hrs
60-70 2-7 hrs 2-40 hrs
70-80 3-13 hrs 3-indefinitely
>80 indefinitely? indefinitely?

Rescue and management


1. Sudden reduction of the hydrostatic squeeze + hypovolemia = hypotension
Maintain hypothermic persons in a horizontal position.

2. Continuous drop of the core temperature ó after-drop, especially with activity
Avoid any physical activity. Do not massage the extremities.

3. Cold heart muscle is susceptible to arrhythmias ó fibrillation, asystole
Handle victims gently, avoid excessive mechanical stimulation.