Cold Water Means Wearing Lifejacket Crucial on Duluth Area Lakes
The 2022 Minnesota Fishing Opener is this weekend and after a warm, stormy week, it looks like ice on area lakes will not be an issue.
However, stubborn ice did remain on some Minnesota lakes right up until this week and that makes for especially dangerous water temperatures. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources wants all anglers to take that threat seriously and take preventative measures.
According to the Minnesota DNR, over 30 percent of boating fatalities in Minnesota happen in cold water with a victim not wearing a life jacket. Within the 2 to 3 minutes of being in cold water, a cold shock response occurs. The leads to gasping, panic and hyperventilation. Drowning can also occur this quickly if not wearing a life jacket.
Within the first 30 minutes of being in cold water, rapid cooling of arms and legs impairs the ability to keep the head above water. This is a life threatening situation regardless of swimming ability. Wearing a life jacket gives everyone a fighting chance should an accident occur on the water.
Not only is wearing a life jacket crucial, but it's also important to remember the 1-10-1 principle as it may save your life while wearing one:
- Get breathing under control
10 Minutes of meaningful moment
- Assess the situation and make a plan.
- Perform most important functions first, such as locating other party members.
- Self-rescue if possible.
- Practice emergency communications and signaling.
1 Hour (or more) of useful consciousness
- Focus on slowing heat loss. This can be done by assuming the heat escape lessening position, which involves crossing ankles and crossing arms over chest. Hands should be kept high on the shoulders or neck. Next, draw knees to chest and try lean back and relax.
Another important tip is to always stay with the boat. Most capsized watercraft will still float and a craft in the water is easier for rescuers to locate.
You can find all of this information and a lot more in the Minnesota DNR's 'Water Kills' brochure. It's not a bad idea to review it every year and keep a copy handy.