Survival Steps If You Cannot Get Out of the Water
Symptoms of Hypothermia
When a victim has these symptoms, dry clothing, heat, and medical attention are required immediately:
- Bluish-white appearance
- Weak heartbeat
- Shallow breathing
- Rigid body muscles
- May be unconscious
If you cannot get out of the water quickly, act to protect against rapid heat loss. In as few as 10 minutes, you may be unable to self-rescue.
- Stay as motionless as possible, protecting the high heat loss areas of your body, and keep your head and neck out of the water.
- Safety typically looks closer than it actually is, so staying with the boat is usually a better choice than swimming.
- Adopt a position to reduce heat loss. If alone, use the Heat Escape Lessening Posture (HELP) position; or if there are others in the water with you, huddle together.
Be prepared at all times to signal rescuers.