It is a sad fact that people continue to die at sea through a lack of knowledge about what is likely to happen if they are exposed to cold water, and how to mitigate the effects of exposure. It is most important to realise that you are not helpless to affect your own survival chances.
Understanding your body's response to cold, and simple self-help techniques, can extend your survival time, particularly if you are wearing a lifejacket.
The IMRF recently coordinated an expert group which completely revised the IMO's guidance on the subject – see LIFE LINE, April, June & August editions, 2012. Now the IMO have republished their popular Pocket Guide on the subject. The booklet is available online, as a download, or in hard copy.
The guide examines the hazards of exposure to the cold that may endanger life, and provides advice based on current medical and scientific opinion on how to prevent or minimize those dangers.
It is intended primarily for seafarers; but will be of great help to rescuers too. As well as survival guidance, it provides information which will help in the treatment of those rescued from cold conditions.
Like all other IMO publications, the Pocket Guide may now be purchased at a discount if you are an IMRF Member. Please see the article alongside.