Forum Navigation

New Posts

Search

  #1  
Old 12-09-2002, 08:33 AM
ruge13's Avatar
ruge13 ruge13 is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Before Nov. 1999
Location: Centerville MA
Posts: 4,714
Cold water experiment

Background: Like you all, I have been wondering just how bad it would be to be dunked in cold water. I was dunked once ice fishing and it wasn't pleasant, rather painful and I was unprepared. Everything we have said with the exception of a few poor souls who might have had the misfortune of being submerged has been speculation. "I would do this if...I think I could that...." The fact remains that until you are actually the one bobbing around like an iceberg unable to get back in your boat you will never know, and for most unfortunately that might be too late. Wes is right, everything is a compromise. I want to know the severity of the compromise. This is something that I am sure everyone has though about. I want to answer some questions. If I am constantly far from shore gambling with my life, and so are you, I want to know at least what will happen. Actually any idiot can tell me what is going to happen, I want to know how long it will take and if I realistically have a fighting chance without a dry suit.

The Questions: I am looking to answer a few questions. I already know I am going to freeze and get wet. I know it is going to be painful, immobilizing, and cause hypothermia. What I want to know, and will be useful information to the rest of us, is how long? Do I have time to get back into the boat before paralysis sets in? I want to know how long it will take before I can no longer physically get into the boat. How long I can tread water? How long until signs of hypothermia set in? What are my body temps versus water and air temps over this period of time? How realistic is survival?

What I hope to prove is that even though I will not be wearing a dry suit, I can still make a reasonable attempt at survival after a submersion in chilly waters with the current equipment compromise. I don't think this will be the case. I am expecting the worst. By reasonable attempt I mean, can I stay in the water long enough and remain alert and mobile enough to either swim to shore or wait for help? I don't think I will ever be able to get back into my boat alone in cold water. I think with the length of time submerged in cold water needed for rescue I don't have a chance before hypothermia, gasping responses and paralysis set in. I would need the assistance of another boat for stability, especially with diminished motor skills. I am not going to attempt any boat reentry in this experiment. I think I can make a good sound conclusion from just being subjected to cold water.

Unfortunately I don't believe the the neoprene gaskets on the suit will be capable of keeping water out long enough for me to have a realistic chance at survival. They are great for dry wear, but I think will prove useless with submersion. This is speculation, I need to know. My initial conclusion is that the suit will fail. The question will be how long it will take for the suit to fail. Will water enter the seems and gaskets immediately or will it seep in over a few seconds. According to the coast guard, you are good for a couple minutes in water temps below 40 degrees. After 3 minutes or so extreme hypothermia sets in and you go unconscious. I am interested in the first 30-45 seconds. Do I realistically have a chance to get back into the boat, make a swim for it, or at the very least, get a distress call out before I am too cold to move. I believe that even the simple motions of getting out the radio or cell phone will be impossible within seconds of submersion. We all trust our lived with this equipment and our ability. I think this test will be a bit of a wake up call as to how much we trust dry tops and pants to count when you need it most. I don't believe it will.

The experiment: Putting the NRS Black Rock Plus combo to the test. Tighten up all the seals, neck, wrists, waist, and legs and go for a swim from shore. No abnormal changes will be made like heavy gloves or a neoprene hood, just the normal paddle wear. I will be fully (over head) submerging in waist to chest deep water in close proximity of my heated car and dry clothes. I will be measuring water temps, air temps, and body temps before and after submersion as a measure of hypothermia. I am interested in lengths of time.

In an attempt to simulate an actual roll I will fully submerge over head with nothing more than my usual fleece hat for at least 2 seconds. I expect this to speed up the chilling process as most heat loss occurs from the head, but will be realistic. I am expecting to be frozen, shivering and gasping within the first 5 seconds of submersion. Given that you lose body heat 10 times faster in water than in air, I don't think having dry gear on will provide any real protection from submersion. they are great for splash wear and piece of mind, but I don't think it will work. I hope I am wrong.

The main concern is hypothermia....please read!!
http://www.nols.edu/Publications/Fir...ml#HYPOTHERMIA
http://www.ussartf.org/cold_water_survival.htm

As for safety I will have dry clothes ready and the car cranking full heat before I get wet. Also, a thermos of hot liquid for reheating. I have read and been subjected to the signs of hypothermia in advance, and so has my lab partner. I plan to be tethered to shore. And as always, adult supervision along with a cell phone.

I will make sure to get photo documentation of me turning blue in the water, expression on my face when water is soaked through and the pain starts (which I expect to be zero seconds), and flashing lights as the ambulance drives away.

Rationalization: People polar bear swim naked in water colder than I plan to be in. I am not doing anything that some people do all the time.

Other: We have talked about how waders will fill with water and although they won;t sink you by themselves, re-entry with full waders will be imposible due to weight. I am expecting the same with dry gear. I think water will seep in but when you attempt to exit the gaskets will work against you by not allowing water to drain out as fast as you would need it to. I think this will be a potential problem with the gear for not only cold water by exposing your skin to water for a longer period of time, but also during warmer months when you would be mobile. The weight of water built up and held in by the neoprene gaskets will make it difficult for re-entry. I will let you know when I try to get out.
__________________
Capt. Shaun Ruge
Riptide Charters
www.riptidecharters.com
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 12-09-2002, 09:36 AM
ruge13's Avatar
ruge13 ruge13 is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Before Nov. 1999
Location: Centerville MA
Posts: 4,714
Post dunking comments....

A few things didn't happen. We didn't get any body temps because just about every store I went to was sold out of thermometers. Water temps according to weather station buoys around Gloucester, water temps were aprox. 45.3 degrees. Still relatively warm I think.

As for layers, I had on cotton sweat pants under my paddle pants, and 1 tee shirt, long sleeve shirt, and cotton turtleneck. On that I had 1 fleece shirt under the jacket. paddle gloves, thin 3mm neoprene with ventilation holes on top and a thin rubber palm underneath. Boots were 5mm wenoka diving boots. Yes I know cotton is the worst fabric to use.

We opted for a surf entry. Just jump in and float around. Didn't use the tether because of the surf. So I went in. The gist of what happened was this. I couldn't be more wrong. I was pleasantly surprised that the gaskets in the suit worked very well. In the first 30 seconds I took some waves over the head, and dunked for two seconds at the start. There was minimal leaking at that point. The comments regarding water building up in the suit were completely wrong. The exact opposite happened. Air was trapped in the suit and caused me to float and I believe slow down the entry of water. There was no gasping reflex but again, the water was still warm. The moving water over my head, even with a polar Tec hat on was painful. That's the only part that I expected and actually did happen. As long as my head was above water, even when wet, I didn;t experience any pain from the temperature.

After the first 30 seconds I started to feel the water creep in. Slowly moving up my legs and in from my wrists. Once I started to feel water I was wet very quickly. However, even wet I didn't feel that cold. I was not shivering. I expected the feeling in my extremities to be gone. However, my hands were not slowed at all and my feet actually felt warm. I was happy that my mid section and waste were the last places to get wet. The belt seem with the srayskirt tunnel did not leak much at all.

After 1 minute or so I got out. Total time in the water was about 1 min 15 seconds or so. I didn't think I needed to be in any longer. Looking back, I wish I had stayed in as long as I could have bared it just to see but that was not the point of this experiment. But I am willing to bet another dunking that I could have easily made 2 minutes submerged without experiencing any visible symptoms of hypothermia (slurred speech, drunken stagger, loss of motion and vision).

After getting out of the water, I still walked around, talked a while. It was a few minutes before I got out of the wet clothes, standing in a parking lot. I still was not shivering. I felt warm. It wasn't until I was exposed to the cold air without a shirt on that my fingers began to slow down.

I took my boots off and walked around my car in bare feet. This was on pavement with slushy snow. This is when I realized that the "warm" sensation I felt was actually a burning sensation from the cold.

Bottom line is, I was not uncomfortable and I do not believe a submersion would have prevented me from being able to get back into a boat, pump it out and go, or make any type of distress call. Even after a few minutes of being wet I still had not lost any motor control. This was a positive conclusion I think. After getting out of the water and walking around I began to warm a but. So paddling back to shore after going over wouldn't be too much of a problem I think.

The Suit held up well and took at least 30 seconds to start to feel leakage. This was much longer than I expected. Even afterwards I "felt warm" and did not lose any motor skills. No slurred speech and no visible hypothermia, unless you say that believing I was warm when actually I was being burned by cold temps a stage of hypothermia.

I think actually having to do this out in deep rough water would have been hard and I would have been exposed to water for a longer period of time. Also, I was expecting to be cold and wet. If you rolled a boat, you would panic. Fast movement would have made water leak quickly. As Sam and one of the websites pointed out, slow deliberate movement is best. This was true. I was felt warm when I wasn't swimming around or moving. I could feel water creep in when I swam or flailed around. A deep water rescue and I would be moving so I would have been colder, faster. Once out of the water I felt fine. Having to paddle in wind for a while and I probably would have chilled faster. The beach didn't have as much wind as farther out.

The video clip is in the works.....
__________________
Capt. Shaun Ruge
Riptide Charters
www.riptidecharters.com
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 12-09-2002, 12:12 PM
ZenFisher's Avatar
ZenFisher ZenFisher is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: SE CT
Posts: 21
Shaun, thank you for braving the cold and running this experiment. You are a fine man for educating us on what to expect. There are two important points to be learned from your results:

1 Dress for the conditions and be prepared.

2 As with any emergency situation, fight your natural instinct to panic. Stay calm. Panic and thrashing will make matters worse.

Thanks again

Rob
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 12-09-2002, 01:26 PM
Wes's Avatar
Wes Wes is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: western LI sound
Posts: 642
Thanks for taking the plunge Shawn. It's worth a swim in whatever you plan to use, just so you know. If you are going to continue to paddle through the winter you should get a neo hood and ditch the cotton clothing. Practise yr deep water re-entries, you still have to do it quickly and reliably in snotty and cold conditions. I get pretty worn out practising them, I wouldn't want to make 5 tries in a real dumping, it would become life threatening then.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 12-10-2002, 09:07 AM
ruge13's Avatar
ruge13 ruge13 is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Before Nov. 1999
Location: Centerville MA
Posts: 4,714
The cotton clothing was used to simulate a worst case scenario. The purpose was to test the dry top and pants and eliminate the positive benefits from polar Tec base layers. I wanted the elapsed time to be a conservative estimate so you can't get much worse than cotton. I appreciate your concern.
__________________
Capt. Shaun Ruge
Riptide Charters
www.riptidecharters.com
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 12-11-2002, 05:09 AM
FishHawk FishHawk is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Before Nov. 1999
Posts: 458
Check out the latest Sea Kayaker Mag. There is a teacher from Montreal who paddles all winter long on the St Lawerence. He has a web page . Perhaps he could give you some info on cold water paddling. I think the bottom line is things could go very wrong in the cold water be careful. FishHawk
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 12-11-2002, 05:17 AM
David Churbuck's Avatar
David Churbuck David Churbuck is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: May 1995
Location: Cotuit, Cape Cod
Posts: 1,471
I'm in Switzerland this week and was just walking by Lake Zurich when I was very surprised to see a few scullers rowing by in racing shells. It's as cold here as back in the States -- 28 degrees and snowing -- and being a sculler myself, I know how easily one can roll over.

None of the scullers I saw today were dressed for immersion. Long sleeve shirts, tights, hats, but if they went in the water, it would be a pretty nasty experience.

I generally won't row after Thanksgiving and pick my days beginning in April. Getting back into a flipped shell is really hard.

Thanks for the experiment. You should join the crowd in Cotuit that goes skinny dipping at midnight on New Year's Eve. So cold your head shrinks.
__________________
David Churbuck
co-founder Reel-time
http://www.churbuck.com/wordpress
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 12-11-2002, 09:04 AM
ruge13's Avatar
ruge13 ruge13 is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Before Nov. 1999
Location: Centerville MA
Posts: 4,714
Shrinkage was a factor but thats a whole different experiment.
__________________
Capt. Shaun Ruge
Riptide Charters
www.riptidecharters.com
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 12-12-2002, 06:50 AM
Marksharky Marksharky is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: NJ
Posts: 2
Vest

Hey Ruge thanks for the info, just wondering what type of vest are you wearing & does it interfere with your seat on the Yak or does the back of the vest ride above the seat back?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 12-12-2002, 09:11 AM
ruge13's Avatar
ruge13 ruge13 is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Before Nov. 1999
Location: Centerville MA
Posts: 4,714
I don't actually remember the name of the vest off the top of my head, I will let you know tomrrow. It is very comfortable and has neoprene under the shoulder straps and around the bottom so its comfortable even in the summer with no shirt on. The back is just as low as the front and does not ride above the seat it I lean back a little. The seat on the Corona is very low so normally it doesn't interfere at all. I hardly ever notice it hitting the seat unless I lean back or stretch.
__________________
Capt. Shaun Ruge
Riptide Charters
www.riptidecharters.com
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 01-22-2003, 12:31 PM
PeteV PeteV is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Before Nov. 1999
Location: Littleton, MA
Posts: 702
Smile

I question your data and think you need to rerun your tests... in fact a day like today might work ..it looks clear and sunny outside right now ...how cold could it realy be
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 01-22-2003, 12:33 PM
ruge13's Avatar
ruge13 ruge13 is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Before Nov. 1999
Location: Centerville MA
Posts: 4,714
I would do it again, and in colder air and water. I had fun.
__________________
Capt. Shaun Ruge
Riptide Charters
www.riptidecharters.com
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 01-22-2003, 05:49 PM
notime notime is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Before Nov. 1999
Location: Holliston, MA
Posts: 1,202
Maybe we should cut a wider hole through the ice so you can just jump in?
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 01-23-2003, 11:53 AM
ruge13's Avatar
ruge13 ruge13 is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Before Nov. 1999
Location: Centerville MA
Posts: 4,714
sure...I'm in....
__________________
Capt. Shaun Ruge
Riptide Charters
www.riptidecharters.com
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 01-28-2004, 12:19 PM
BluesCruiser's Avatar
BluesCruiser BluesCruiser is offline
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: oxford mass
Posts: 397
Stay in your kayak
__________________
BluesCruiser~~~<*)))><}
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Tides and habitat article RandyJones New England 1 07-03-2002 05:23 AM
Part 1 - TIDES and HABITAT: RandyJones Frequently Asked Questions 1 07-03-2002 05:14 AM
Part 1 - TIDES and HABITAT: RandyJones New England 1 07-03-2002 05:14 AM
727 Monomoy Island, flats, fly, wade, South Beach, Chatham RandyJones New England 5 07-27-2000 06:35 PM



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:43 PM.




vBulletin skin developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.


Copyright 1995-2013, Cahill Digital