Cold water survival
Cold water immersion is always a risk when sailing in non tropical waters. Yacht skippers should have a good understanding of the effects that take place on the body when suddenly dropped in to cold water.
The effects can be far more dramatic than most people realise, for people who are not involved in sports like board sailing, diving, kayaking or surfing where you become used to being in cold water the shock can be disabling.
There are some very good videos about cold water and the equipment to deal with it on the Fish Safe BC website, there is a lot of background information that will be of interest to anyone who goes out in small craft.
The files are quite large and will take along time to download but this one is definitely worth it.
The Yukonman.com website has some excellent presentations on the effects of falling in to extremely cold water, although not in boating situations these videos give a good idea of the important factors you should consider in a cold water immersion situation.
There is also a British military video called Cold Water Casualty, if you can find a copy of it, it covers similar material and is one of the best sources of detailed information, unfortunately it is no longer made but many yacht clubs have copies.
Sea Survival course
It is invaluable to attend a sea survival course of at least one day duration. You will be given the opportunity to play with an inflated liferaft in a warm swimming pool, to right an inverted one, to learn how tough it can be to enter from the water and given advice on how to survive in abandon ship situations.
Most people find this course a lot of fun but also very thought provoking. You would not want the first time you enter a liferaft to be at night, in a storm when you would have no idea of what to expect or how to use the equipment provided.
Viking marine have several short videos of liferafts being deployed and in use for pool training sessions.
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