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A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine from work was talking to me about getting a kayak. He asked what style I had and such and from that I offered him a paddling trip. We decided on yesterday afternoon. The weather was nice and warm, but I insisted he wear a wet suit. Since he also water-skis quite a but he agreed that he would need to wear his wet suit. As it turned out the water temp on my depth finder was about 58 degrees and considering the sensor is inside the kayak it may have been a couple of degrees off (on the warm side).

Hang in here with me now.

We went paddling and had a great time going from Tide Mill Rd ramp to Route 17 and back. He paddled the 12 footer to Rt 17 and paddled my 14 footer back. When we got back to the ramp there was a man and his wife putting their kayaks in the water so we waited for them to get ready and launch just sort of sitting back in our yaks and watching the process.

As the man got in his sit inside kayak (SIK), a Wilderness System Tsunami 140, and I saw he had on a pair of shorts, a pull-over shirt, sneakers, and a hat. I felt compelled to comment that I was surprised that he had no wet suit on (cold water protection). He said that he had had the kayaks a long time and that he had never had a need for a wet suit because he had never fallen out of his kayak (where's the logic?).

He and his wife headed up the Poquoson River close to shore and we retrieved our yaks and went home.

I have another friend (his name is Gary) at work who is on the USCG Auxiliary and he lives along the river. Today Gary says to me that a kayaker spilled over just off the shoreline from his house yesterday and fortunately it turns out that the man was in about three feet of water.

I described the guy I spoke to yesterday and it turns out it was the same guy (I described yak and his truck). Gary has no small boat to get the guy and is not about to go into cold water and have two victims. Long story short, this guy was able to get to shore with quite a bit of difficulty and Gary's wife (also USCGA) got to the guy first with a blanket.

Now this guy was in the water no more than about 5 minutes or so. They got him to Mary Immaculate Hospital ER and it turns out his body core temperature was at 95 degrees!!! This is after a 10 minute ride in a warm car with a blanket around him!

This guy is very lucky he was not out in the middle of the river or even in deeper water. His comment to Gary and his wife was that upon hitting the water he felt almost immediately sapped of all his strength!

I would guess so with cotton shorts and a cotton shirt and no cold water protection! I am going to bet he either will not go out in cold water again or will buy a wet suit or a dry suit. Fortunately, his wife wasn't there at the time and if she was, then in trying help him she may have gotten into trouble herself in her cotton sweat suit.

Be careful out there in the cold water this time of year and don't let the warm air lure you into a trip without protection.
Thank you for posting this because I am a new kayak fisherman and didnt think i need CWP this time of year. You may have just saved my life. Thank You.
 
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