While the temperatures and the shoreline scenery may be different in the winter, many still consider this time of the year to be perfect for a boat ride across the waters of Grand or Hudson lakes.
However, because safe boating is something that should be practiced year-round, there are some extra precautions for the winter that you should keep in mind, and some extra items you should have with you.
- First, cell phones: Typically, during winter boating, there is less traffic on the water, which means fewer boaters around to assist you if you get into trouble. Therefore, having a working a cell phone is vital for emergency or non-emergency help.
- A whistle – attached to your life jacket – is also an important for winter-time boaters. If you can produce a loud and effective call for help with a whistle, you will use less energy than shouting for help and waving your arms.
If you do have trouble and go into the water, remember that cold water can rob your body of heat 25 times faster than cold air and that means the time of exposure needed to experience hypothermia is drastically reduced.
If your boat does capsize, your main priority is to get as much of your body out of the water as you can.
If possible, climb on the overturned vessel or nearby debris, or get to the nearest shore or dock.
Also, because wet clothing is colder than less clothing and can lead to hypothermia more quickly, remove as much of the wet clothing as possible, as soon as possible.
You will be warmer with less clothing than with wet clothing.
Of course, whether you are boating in January or July, it is also important to file a “float plan” any time you visit the water. Let someone know where you intend to be boating, who is going with you and when you expect to return.
Finally, and always, wear a life jacket.
For more information on cold weather boating, including additional information on proper clothing, visit coldwaterbootcampusa.org.
GRDA is Oklahoma’s largest public power electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees, and efficiency.