Spring Boating: Make it a Picnic!

At Blossom Water, we love Spring! We love the outdoors, we love food, and we love all things water. And what could be a better way to bring all of these loves together than a romantic picnic aboard a small boat? It sounds heavenly, but please don’t let the sweet sunshine lull you into aquatic complacency! Spring boating can be tricky. The water is still very cold! And unpredictable weather (in New England and the Northeast, especially) can quickly combine with chilling water temperatures to create disaster.

As our kayaking friends say, “Dress for success.” They’re not talking about business success or getting to first base, but about successfully surviving immersion in very cold water. “Generally, a person can survive in 41-degree F (5-degree C) water for 10, 15 or 20 minutes before the muscles get weak, you lose coordination and strength, which happens because the blood moves away from the extremities and toward the center, or core, of the body.” (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/airplane-1549-hudson-hypothermia)

Cold water robs your body of heat 32 times faster than cold air, your best bet is not to get into it! Here are some tips that might help keep you safe in the event of a mishap:

  • Check the weather forecast before going out
  • Dress in several layers of light clothing – Next to a diver’s wet suit, wool clothing offers the best protectio
  • Always wear your personal flotation device (PFD)

If you do fall in:

  • Most boats, even filled with water, will support you
  • If the boat has capsized and cannot be righted, climb on top of it
  • Physical exercise such as swimming causes the body to lose heat at a much faster rate than remaining still in the water
  • Air trapped in your clothes can provide buoyancy as long as you remain still in the water
  • Swimming or treading water will greatly increase heat loss and can shorten survival time by more than 50%
  • The major body heat loss areas are the head, neck, armpits, chest and groin
  • If you are not alone, huddle together or in a group facing each other to maintain body heat
    (Cold water survival facts from http://www.ussartf.org/cold_water_survival.htm)
  • If you are alone, hug your knees into your chest and float

These facts look pretty chilly lined up like this. But don’t be discouraged, just be prepared. A romantic picnic in a small boat really is just about the best thing you can do on a sunny spring day. Have fun and be safe.

Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing… about in boats — or with boats. In or out of ’em, it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame