Water temperatures below 15 degrees are considered dangerous. If you fall into cold water, cold shock can set in very quickly and you are at high risk of catching hypothermia.
The dangers of cold shock and hypothermia are not restricted to alpine waters. Waters across northern, central and southern NSW are at or below this temperature for winter, parts of spring and autumn. Water can be dangerously cold on sunny days.
Tips to stay safe:
- Be prepared, plan your trip and always wear a lifejacket.
- Wearing a lifejacket helps to manage cold shock, conserve energy and give you time to get back into your vessel or for assistance to arrive.
- If you do fall in, try to get back onto your vessel as quickly as possible or get as much of your body out of the water that you can. Only swim for shore if it is very close and you are sure you can make it quickly.
- If you have no other choice but to stay in the water, stay with the vessel and huddle with anyone else who is in the water to reduce the loss of body heat.
- If by yourself, retain heat by drawing your knees to your chest, wrapping your arms around your knees and clasping your hands together.
- Open runabouts and paddle craft are some of the most popular vessels on our waterways. However, on these vessels, people are more likely to end up in the water through capsizing, swamping, or falling overboard.