COLD-WEATHER BOATINGLast fall, one person among a group of...

Peter Baker's journal

December 10, 1992|By Peter Baker

COLD-WEATHER BOATING

Last fall, one person among a group of sea duck hunters drowned after the anchor line fouled and the boat they were aboard in Eastern Bay capsized. This week, a kayaker who set out from Annapolis for St. Michaels in high winds last weekend was presumed to have drowned after his empty boat was found with his life jacket still aboard.

Each year such cold-weather boating accidents kill more than 200 persons, according to statistics supplied by the Boat Owners Association of the United States.

Cold weather should not rule out boating, but there are some precautions that should be taken:

* Wear several layers of clothing for insulation, a cap and gloves. Wool is a fine fabric to choose because it retains body heat when wet.

* Wear a life jacket at all times. Being immersed in cold water can quickly result in loss of consciousness. A life jacket will keep you afloat and also provide some warmth for the torso and the vital organs.

* Cold water can cause one to chill 25 times faster than air, so if you find yourself overboard, keep your life jacket on. Close all zippers, cuffs and collars to trap water inside your clothing. Water so trapped will be warmed by the body and act as an insulator. Tuck your knees to your chest, close your arms around your body and expend as little energy as possible to conserve heat.

CALENDAR

Today-Saturday: National Campground Owners Association Convention and Expo at the Sheraton-Washington Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Today: Free seminar on Global Positioning Systems equipment at Boat/US Towson Marine Center, 7 p.m. For more information, call 410-296-0451.

Saturday: Full river bird count at the Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary in Upper Marlboro. Staff members and volunteers take a census of the waterfowl on the sanctuary's ponds and the Patuxent River, 8-9 a.m.

Saturday-Sunday: Santa's Magic Workshop at Martinak State Park near Denton. Ornament making, train rides.

(Items for the Outdoors Journal may be mailed to OutdoorEditor, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278-0001. Please include time, date and location of events to be listed.)

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