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Cold Water
Stages of Cold-Water Immersion

Photo Credit: National Water Safety Congress

Stages of Cold-Water Immersion

  • Cold shock. A person has one minute to adjust to the cold shock response – don’t panic, get control of breathing, don’t gasp.
  • Swimming failure. A person has about 10-minutes of meaningful movement to get help and get out of the water.
  • A person has about one hour before they become unconscious from hypothermia.
  • Post-rescue collapse. A person “gives up” and collapses after or right at the time of rescue.

More Information

Dos and Don’ts of Cold Water Boating



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