Originally Posted by Poly
Advice can only ever really be aimed at normal people who aren't used to it and are probably nowhere near as fit.
Perhaps that is the problem Poly ?.. its impossible to say what a normal person is or even a normal circumstance is ?
Personally I don’t think the RYA message in the above link is to adopt a stationary floating position until rescued? If it is .. why do they say in the text in the link posted ...
“The RNLI's advice is to float for about 60-to-90 seconds if you fall in water - the time it takes for the effects of the cold shock to pass and to regain control of breathing.”
And again say in the video in the link posted ...
“If you fall in the water .. Lean back to float to keep your airway clear ..keep calm and maintain breathing levels..float for about 60-90 seconds to allow cold water shock to pass ..you should then be in a better position to swim to safety or call for help.”
I think the RYA advice given .. is to float until cold water shock passes.. then do what is required to survive.?
I can understand follow the sea survival code of staying still and afloat ..if the person was alone and in deep water far from any land or possible safety of a boat. However I doubt that is a normal circumstance to be in such a remote situation?
IMO it could be misleading advice to perhaps ..a normal person.. in a normal circumstance.. who may be a shore fisherman falling off rocks into the sea who could swim to safety..it may be a SIBBer who could swim after his SIB and rescue himself. It may be a kayaker who could re enter his kayak.. and carry on.
Which is why I think it is important to try to point out my interpretation of the RYA advice in the link provided. Of course .. Its only my opinion and could be wrong.
I do have personal experience of being dumped in a very cold sea off Millport in freezing cold December weather. I was trapped in a kayak..upside down..I was very overweight and very unfit at the time ..so had trouble getting out the kayak quickly and certainly not healthy enough to clamber back into it once I was free and the kayak righted again.
I swam for shore which was less than 1/2 a mile away. The wind was blowing me onto it to assist my efforts...and I also hung onto the back of another guy's kayak as he paddled for shore
I was in the water for appox 10 minutes and could feel hypothermia effects as soon as I got onto land. It wasn’t the water temperature that was killing me..it was a bitter cold north wind..and wet clothing. I quickly started to stagger and slur my words.
There is not a doubt in my mind that a survival bag saved me that day. I was with two friends who were also in kayaks. They wrapped me in the bag.. gave me dry cloths.. and hot coffee from a flask.
I would advise any boat to carry a survival bag..(it can be as simple as a large poly bag) If someone falls into the water from your RIB..you get them back on board.. but unless you can keep them out a cold wind .. hypothermia can still kill.
With hindsight and in my own circumstance ..I would swim ashore any day rather than follow the advice of floating until rescue arrived. I may not have been here to write this today if I followed that advice.
My opinion only.. but I survived. I wonder if any of you have actually fallen in freezing water accidentally and in anger.. Ignored your instinct to swim to safety... and floated until rescued? I would love to hear your version