In cold waters, your greatest danger after abandoning ship is the effects of the cold. Wear
as much clothing as you possibly can, especially heavy undergarments. Ordinary clothing
gives you no protection against cold if you are immersed in water. You must get out of the
water as quickly as possible
Huddle together for warmth. A huddled group can survive cold that might be fatal to one
person alone. Rig wind and spray shields, but dont block the suns heat. Exercise mildly, if
possible, to increase body heat; but never do so to the point of exhaustion.
Lifeboats are uncomfortable and cold. In frigid temperatures, you must keep both ends of
the inflatable lifeboat closed to keep the temperature comfortable; but this confinement
creates other discomforts. Closing the ends reduces ventilation and raises the humidity. Then
you must reopen the ends to let out the impure air and to bring in fresh air, which, of course, is
Shoes and clothing are a real protection against sunburn and exposure. Remove clothing
only when it is absolutely necessary. If you must remove your clothes while in the water, take
off only the heaviest articles. Because your shirt or jumper offers warmth at night as well as
protection from the sun during the day, dont remove it. Sunburn is easier to prevent than to
treat. Try to remain out of the direct rays of the sun. If you cant avoid direct exposure, keep
your hat on and cool your body by wetting your clothing.
Although remaining dry on a lifeboat is always difficult, make every effort to keep your
clothing dry. Since continuous condensation of moisture causes it to drop like rain, sponge out
the boat whenever possible. Cold weather aggravates these uncomfortable conditions.
Frostbite and immersion foot are serious injuries that can happen even when youre
wearing enough clothing to stay fairly comfortable. Frostbite usually affects the hands, face,
or feet, and it most often occurs on windy, very cold days. Affected parts of the body turn stiff,
pale, and numb. To prevent frostbite, keep exposed parts of the body as warm as possible and
maintain circulation. If frostbite occurs, treat the affected part immediately by placing it in
contact with a warm part of your body. Cover it with your hand or put frozen fingers inside
your clothing. Dont rub the affected parts; that could result in damage to frozen tissue.
Immersion foot is the swelling of the foot accompanied by numbness and pallor (lack of
color) or discoloration. Immersion foot is caused by poor circulation in the legs, particularly
when the foot remains wet for several days. To prevent immersion foot, exercise the ankles and
toes for a few minutes several times each day. Keep your feet warm, dry, and elevated as much
as possible. Unlace your shoes or take them off. If you have no dry socks or wrappings for your
feet, put them under the arms or in the lap of a shipmate. Never treat immersion foot by
rubbing. As with frostbite, tissue damage may result. Rewarming is the only proper treatment.