12-05-2014, 02:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Friendsville, TN
As winter is fast approaching we need to discuss Inflatable Personal Floatation Devices. While the IPFD’s are great for spring, summer, and fall the IPFD’s leave a little to be desired during cold weather and water conditions of winter. In pressurized gases such as a CO2 canister, when the temperature decreases so does the volume of gas or gases needed for inflation. If the IPFD does not fully inflate then the floatation capability decreases, add to this the extra clothing we often use to winter fish and you have a recipe for disaster. While this may not sound so bad to some, let me give you some points to ponder. 1.Decreased floatation due to colder temperatures
2.If the water temperature is colder than air temperature, the longer you are in the water the more the volume of air inside the IPFD will decrease.
3.As your body struggles to warm your internal organs, it begins to shut down from external to internal, so legs and arms become stiff and lethargic, you become confused, unable to make decisions.
4.If you are unconscious and alone, GAME OVER…… I have spent many years fishing and working on habitat projects during some of the roughest conditions East Tennessee has to offer. In doing this I have made some discoveries that I hope will help someone survive a winter dousing.
1. Always inform someone of your intended fishing or work location with GPS coordinates if available.
2. Try to never fish alone
3. Wear a conventional PFD or floatation coat with the highest floatation available. Traditional PFD’s and floatation coats not only retain their full floatation value but will help to insulate your body from the cold and give you longer to get out of the water.
4. When you fall in with rod in hand, remember all things, besides you, can be replaced. There are two kinds of fishermen, those who have been in the water and those that will be…..
a. Never wear lace up boots.
b. Always keep a set of dry clothes or coveralls in the boat for emergencies. A 15 minute ride in wet clothes at 38 degrees means hypothermia.
c. Keep large sized hand and foot warmers in the boat. Once in dry clothing, place activated packages to underarm and crotch areas. These two areas are where the arteries and veins are closest to the surface and will help to warm you the quickest.
6.Get in the boat.
a.If your boat is equipped with a ladder system get to it as quickly as possible.
b.Most people in full winter gear cannot climb over the side of a boat in wet clothing. If your boat is equipped with a tilt switch on the outboard motor, climb on the cavitation plate and hit the switch. If all else fails push the motor to one side and climb between the motor and transom.
c.If the trolling motor is deployed, it can also be used to climb into the boat. Place both feet on the motor and then roll into the boat.
d.If all else fails and you are too heavily clothed to climb, STRIP (no lace up boots, you cannot reach the laces to untie them in the water, and most thermal suits and pants will not come off over boots.)
We live, we learn, we grow, when not trapped in our own little universe.