Hypothermia poses serious danger even during warmer winters

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LOS ANGELES — Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach reminds boaters to take extra precautions on and around the waterthe air and water temperatures get colder during the winter months.

While Southern California typically experiences mild winters, it is important for boaters, paddlers, surfers, fishermen and anyone planning to be out on the water to carry extra gear to protect them from colder water temperatures.

While the current water temperature in the area is about 66 degrees, hypothermia is still a very real danger. Hypothermia can occur when the body’s core temperature falls below 95 degrees. How quickly hypothermia sets in depends on many factors including the sea-state, whether or not a person is wearing protective gear and a person’s physical attributes and condition.

No matter what the weather conditions, studies have shown people in the water are almost always better off if they can get out of the water, such as climbing on top of a capsized boat. Water is a great conductor of heat, meaning it can rob the body of heat up to 25 times faster than air. Air on the other hand is a good insulator of heat, allowing the body to retain core temperature. Studies have also shown that windchill is not as great of a risk as staying in the water, meaning, being out of the water may feel colder but is actually allowing your body to retain heat more effectively.

“Safety equipment, procedures and float plans help us locate and rescue people with far greater success and in colder water, every minute counts,” said Capt. Jennifer Williams, the Commander of Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach.

Boaters are encouraged to follow these safety rules:

• Check the weather and water temperatures before going out on the water.

• Maintain situational awareness on the water. Be aware of activity around your vessel, including changing weather, and always know your location.

• Leave a float plan with a responsible indivi your intentions, location and who they should call if you do not return as scheduled.

• Wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket and set an example for your passengers or paddling partsure to have a working marine-band radio and GPS on board your vessel. Remember VHF-FM channel 16 is the broadcast emergency channel for mariners.

• Be responsible. Don’t boat under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

For weather information, visit the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website at: http://www.weather.gov/

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