BOATsmart! Canada
Knowledge Base

Module 07 - Emergency Preparedness

Rescuing a Person with Hypothermia

When rescuing a person with hypothermia, take the following actions:

 

STEP 1:
Remove the person from the source of cold exposure using proper overboard rescue techniques.
STEP 2:
Remove wet clothing and dry the victim off completely. Provide them with dry clothing, and get them to a sheltered area below deck if possible.
STEP 3:
Assess the victim's current condition and determine which stage of hypothermia they are in.
STEP 4:
Attempt to slowly increase the victim’s core body temperature by one or a combination of the following:
  • Cover the victim's head and neck, and wrap them in dry blankets or towels
  • Cover the victim with an insulating device, such as a reflective heat blanket
  • Provide the victim with a hot non-alcoholic beverage
  • Use your own body heat to help transfer body heat to the victim
STEP 5:
If necessary, signal your need for help using a recognized distress signal

 

Never rub or massage a hypothermia victims body or extremities in an attempt to warm them up! Doing this may damage nerve endings and cause cold blood from the extremities to move to the core of the body which can put additional stress of the victim’s heart.

 

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