a boat in the distance on misty, cold water
a boat in the distance on misty, cold water

Cold Water Boating - While Waiting for Help to Arrive

Heat Escape Lessening Posture - H.E.L.P.

The help position for an individual.

Individual Technique

If you find yourself in the water, button up your clothing, cinch your life jacket down nice and snug, keep your head out of the water as much as possible and if you're wearing a hat pull it down tight. Kick off any heavy shoes or boots, but know that some boots like waders can be turned upside down to create an air pocket making the boots good emergency flotation.

The help position for a group.

Group Technique

Huddle with others if there are several people in the water. To do this face inward, link arms over each other's shoulders or under each other's arms and get together close and tight. This will allow you to share as much heat as possible. If there are children or seniors have them move to the middle of the huddle.

This position aims to protect some of the areas of your body most prone to heat loss - the head, neck, sides of the chest cavity and the groin area. If you are wearing a life jacket, this position can be very effective. To reach this position, you should bring your knees up as close as possible to your chest and grasp your hands together over your chest. If this is too difficult, or too unstable, cross your calves, bend your knees and pull your legs close to your body. Cross your arms and tuck your hands flat under your armpits.