BOATsmart! Canada
Knowledge Base

Module 07 - Emergency Preparedness

Hypothermia and Cold Water Immersion

Hypothermia occurs when your core body temperature drops below 35.0° Celsius. It’s caused by prolonged exposure to low temperatures, including:

  • Cold water
  • Exposure to cold air and wind while in water-soaked clothing
  • Prolonged exposure to low air temperatures

The Stages of Hypothermia

The drop in core body temperature caused by hypothermia will result in weakened muscle function, reduced coordination, and slow mental abilities.

In addition, the victim will begin to experience the following stages and symptoms:

Phase 1: Early stage

  • The victim will still be conscious
  • Shivering
  • Slurred speech

Phase 2: Intermediate stage

  • The victim may be irrational, confused and sleepy
  • Lack of coordination
  • Slow weak pulse
  • Slow breathing
  • Slowed or absent shivering

Phase 3: Final stage

  • The victim may lose consciousness
  • Weak, irregular or absent pulse
  • Weak, irregular or absent breathing 

 

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