Coast Guard warns of seasonal dangers in North Coast waters.

NORTH COAST – As winter sets in, the Coast Guard is warning of potential hazards for those enjoying our lakes, rivers and coastal areas this time of year.

Water safety experts say swimming failure and cold water drowning is a fast and deadly cousin of hypothermia and can claim lives within seconds or minutes of being in the water. Sometimes the cold shock response can trigger incapacitation and that’s when drowning occurs. Even strong swimmers can be immobilized after a few short minutes.

Authorities say to never swim alone, always wear a life jacket, know the dangers and know your limits. The 1-10 -1 Principal is something to remember: When a cold water drowning situation begins, a person has about 1-minute to gain control of their breathing and 10-minutes or less of meaningful movement and muscle control to get themselves out of the water. Hypothermia may set in within one hour, but without a lifejacket, the victim is likely to drown before that occurs. The Coast Guard and water safety experts agree that public education and preparedness may help save a life.

For more information on cold water drowning and water safety, go online to this web site: www.watersafetycongress.org/eduprograms