PADDLERsmart! USA Knowledge Base

Module 05 - Emergency Preparedness



Take the following steps to survive a cold water emergency:

Step 1: Assess the situation:

  • Is everyone wearing a life jacket?
  • Is it possible to swim to shore or to safety?
  • Are there any boaters on the water who can assist you?
  • Are you able to signal or call for help?

Step 2: If you are within 50 m of shore and are able to swim to safety, you should do so.

Step 3: If you’re injured, there is no help close by, or you’re further than 50 m from shore, you should stay where you are.

Step 4: If you’re alone and close to a floating object, you should climb onto the object to save energy, to get out of the cold water and to make yourself more visible. However, you should only do so if you’re able to get most of your body out of the water.


Step 5: Immediately signal or call for help.


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