Cold Water Shock - What Is It and How To Avoid It
Cold water is any water below 15°C. Entering into cold water can have a serious effect on your body, so it is important to be aware of Cold Water Shock.
The average sea temperature is 12°C and rivers are usually colder, so this applies for most of the year in the U.K.
- skin blood vessels close, blood flow resistance increases
- the heart has to work harder so blood pressure and heart rate increases
- sudden skin cooling causes involuntary gasps for breath
- movement can be seriously affected
- breathing rates can increase dramatically and get out of control
- you might panic and inhale water into your lungs
What are the dangers?
- it can happen quickly and lead to drowning unless medical care received immediately
- Cold water shock can cause heart attacks even in the young and healthy
How to avoid or deal with cold water shock
If you suddenly experience cold water:
- don’t try to swim immediately, wait 1 minute for cold water effects to pass
- relax and float on your back
- keep calm, call for help or swim to shore when you are able to
- check water conditions before the activity
- wear a wetsuit and lifejacket
Beezra Activities staff are qualified and experienced in all water-based activities, and provide a comprehensive safety briefing before every session. Book your adventure with us for a safe and exciting day out.