Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Buffalo, NY

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NOUS41 KBUF 261944

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Buffalo NY
344 PM EDT Fri May 26 2023


Cold water is defined as any water with a temperature of
70 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Always be aware of the dangers of
cold water. Average water temperatures for the Great Lakes
between May and September are typically below 70 degrees
Fahrenheit. The dangers of cold water can be deceiving when air
temperatures are warm.

The first impacts of cold water are panic and shock. The initial
shock can severely strain the body and may cause instant cardiac
arrest. Survivors of cold-water accidents often describe having
their breath knocked out of them, causing involunary gasping
which could result in drowning. Disorientation may also occur
after cold water immersion. Within 10 minutes you can lose muscle
control where simple tasks like keeping your head above water can
become increasingly difficult. Longer exposure can lead to
hypothermia and death.

The NWS and U.S. Coast Guard urge the following safety measures
to protect yourself and maximize your enjoyment of the water:

* When you are on the water always wear your life jacket! Bright
  color life jackets with reflective tape improve the odds of a
  survivor being located during daylight hours and at night.

* Consider water temperature as well as air temperature when
  venturing out on the water.

* Wear cold water protection gear for the water temperature, not
  the air temperature.

* Always let someone know your plans. Be sure to explain to that
  person that you are relying on them to get help if something
  goes wrong or if you do not return when expected.

* Be sure to check the weather forecast and water conditions
  before you go out on the water.

* If you have any doubts about going out, don`t go.

Safe boating/paddling is no accident! Please allow for extra
caution if venturing out into cold water. Be on alert for gusty
winds or choppy waves that can easily result in immersion. To
increase your safety, consult the forecast before venturing out
on the water.

For forecast information:

For further information on cold water go to:

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