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PFDs can increase survival time because they allow you to float
without using energy treading water, and because of their insulating
properties. Naturally, the warmer the water, the less insulation you
will require. When operating in cold waters [below 60°F (15.6°C)] you
should consider using a coat or jacket style PFD or a Type V Thermal
Protective PFD as they cover more of the body than the vest or belt
Some Points to Remember About Hypothermia Protection:
1. Always wear your PFD. Even if you become incapacitated due to
hypothermia, your PFD will keep you afloat, and greatly improve
your chances of rescue.
2. Do not attempt to swim unless it is to reach a nearby craft, fellow
survivor, or a floating object on which you can lean or climb.
Swimming increases the rate of body heat loss. In cold water,
drown-proofing methods that require putting your head in the
water are not recommended. Keep your head out of the water. This
will greatly lessen heat loss and increase your survival time.
3. Use the standard H.E.L.P.
position (Heat Escape
Lessening Position) when
wearing an inflatable PFD,
drawing the legs up to a
seated position, because doing
so will help you conserve body
heat (Fig. 33).
4. Keep a positive attitude about
your survival and rescue. This
will improve your chances of
extending your survival time
until rescued. Your will-to-live
does make a difference!
5. If there is more than one person in the water, huddling is
recommended while waiting to be rescued. This action tends to
reduce the rate of heat loss and thus increase the survival time.