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Sunday, October 10, 2010


OK.....So my brother and family were visiting for the weekend...He, myself and my step dad decided to rock out a little fall fishing adventure this morning...Kayaks loaded, directions to the new lake we've never fished, gear in the back ready to go....Arriving at the lake, we all realized exactly how wrong the weather forecasters were...They said 60 degrees, it was more like 40 with 20 mph winds...Being the manly men we are, we carried out the plan....

Finding the big pickerel we set out for proved to be a little challenging. The high mountain lake was only in the low 50 degree range...The fish were of course bottom hugging....So we struggled for the first hour or two, then we got into a few fish...My brother Chris...for the life of me I can't figure out why he can't hook up, thankfully he is satisfied just being out enjoying the other side of fishing....the outdoor step dad...if you remember back a few blogs he can't swim...testing my water rescue skills over the summer....He got into a couple of fish...He managed to land the biggest fish of the day at 20 inches...I hit three smaller pickerel when it was all said and done.....A good time was being had....

Then it happened...Phil and Chris were at the deeper end of the lake...I was near the weed line across the way....I hear my name being screamed....Oh shit....I turn to see Phil's boat capsized and no Phil....Everything gets tossed to the floor and I paddle like I've never paddled before...The entire time yelling to my brother...keep his head up.....I get to them, Phil is holding on to the side of Chris' kayak, gasping for air and shaking in the water...He has his feet locked into the other kayak that's sinking because he was trying to save it...I yell for him to let go...He grabs the back of my boat...I paddle him to shore...This seemed like an eternity..but in reality was just few minutes...Thankfully I read every night before bed...My knowledge gained in the field of survival and my brothers medical knowledge saved a possible tragedy....We got Phil to get off his wet clothes, my brother and I both shedding our layers for him to put on....My brother was on his vitals like white on rice....Rational thinking got the job done...We got him into Chris' warm truck and to the hospital in a very short time....A little eye opening for all of us, things like this bring people closer together though....Shook us all up for sure, I'm not a religious man, but Phil seems to have something watching over him....We can only be grateful for that....

Fall fishing is some of the best fishing of the year but it can take your life....The water temps are cold, the air is cold, tragedy is a slip away....Please be careful out there...Here's some tips I grabbed from a website....

What happens in cold water?

Cold water removes heat from the body 25 times faster than cold air. About 50% of that heat loss occurs through the head. Physical activity such as swimming, or other struggling in the water increases heat loss. Survival time can be reduced to minutes. Strong swimmers have died before swimming 100 yards in cold water. In water under 40 degrees F, victims have died before swimming 100 feet.

Cold Shock

1. Without a life jacket, a victim may inhale while under water (involuntary gasping reflex) and drown without coming back to the surface. This can only be prevented by wearing a life jacket at all times on the water in the off-season. There is no second chance.

2. Exposure of the head and chest to cold water causes sudden increases in heart rate and blood pressure that may result in cardiac arrest.

3. Other responses to cold water immersion result in immediate loss of consciousness and drowning.


Hypothermia (decreased body temperature) develops more slowly than the immediate effects of cold shock. Survival curves show that an adult dressed in average clothing may remain conscious for an hour at 40 degrees F and perhaps 2-3 hours at 50 degrees F (water temp.). The crisis is more serious than these numbers suggest. Any movement in the water accelerates heat loss. Survival time can be reduced to minutes. Hands rapidly become numb and useless. Without thermal protection, swimming is not possible. The victim, though conscious, is soon helpless. Without a life jacket, drowning is unavoidable.

Even with a wet suit/dry suit on, one's hands rapidly become useless in water in the low 40's degrees F. Protective fingerless gloves for fishermen can be important. Shivering occurs as body temperature drops from 97 degrees F down to about 90 degrees F. Uncontrolled rapid breathing follows the initial gasping response and may cause loss of consciousness. The victim must attempt to recover control of his/her breathing rate.

Muscle rigidity and loss of manual dexterity, physical helplessness, occurs at about 93 degrees F. Mental capacity also deteriorates at this point.

Unconsciousness occurs when the body's core temperature reaches about 86 degrees F. If drowning doesn't occur first, death occurs at a core temperature of about 80 degrees F. Once in the water

Try to get back in or on your boat immediately. Do not leave the boat. If you are not wearing thermal protection and can not get out of the water, stay as still as possible. Fold arms, cross legs and float quietly on the buoyancy of your PFD until help arrives (Heat Escape Lessening Posture; H.E.L.P.). If 2 or more people are in the water, put your arms around one another. Stay still and close together (Huddle posture).

Treatment of Hypothermia

1. Mild hypothermia (victim shivering but coherent). Move victim to place of warmth. Remove wet clothes, give warm, sweet drinks; no alcohol or caffeine. Keep victim warm for several hours.

2. Moderate hypothermia (shivering may decrease or stop). Victim may seem irrational with deteriorating coordination. Same as above but no drinks. Victim should be kept lying down with torso, thighs, head and neck covered with dry clothes, coats or blankets to stop further heat loss. Seek medical attention immediately.

3. Severe hypothermia (shivering may have stopped. Victim may resist help or be semiconscious or unconscious). Removed from water, victim must be kept prone, on back and immobile. Victim must be handled gently. Cover torso, thighs, head and neck with dry covers to stop further heat loss. Arms and legs must not be stimulated in any manner. Cold blood in extremities, that suddenly returns to the core, may induce cardiac arrest. Seek medical attention immediately.

4. Victim appears dead. Little or no breathing or pulse, body rigid. Assume victim can be revived. Look for faint pulse or breathing for 2 minutes. If any trace is found, do not give CPR. It can cause cardiac arrest. Medical help is imperative. If pulse and breathing are totally absent, CPR should be started by trained medical personnel.


  1. Pat
    Enjoyed the post it is always good to spend time with family, thanks for sharing the tips, very helpful.

  2. WOW, glad everyone is ok. Without an captions on the photos, I have to ask, where these from the trip? I see a PFD in a few photos...but from the writeup it sounds like it wasn't being worn.

    It's good to hear you guys acted rationally and where able to help out!

  3. Thanks guys...He was wearing a PFD, but not properly....I think the lesson was learned....

  4. Glad to hear everyone is ok. I tell folks that it is not a matter of "if" but rather "when" they will run into some sort trouble on the water. Great tips and once again, glad to hear everyone is ok.

  5. thanks man....and you're right....only a matter of time...