PEI Hunter Safety Course


Coldwater Immersion

Many drownings and boating related fatalities are a result of cold water immersion. When a person falls into cold water their body experiences a number of physiological responses which are affected by both the temperature of the water and the amount of time they are in the water.


Vessel capsizing and falls overboard are the leading causes of cold water immersion. Capsizing is most often caused by overloading, poorly secured loads, improper boat handling and anchoring or loss of power/steerage.

In order to prevent cold water immersion, be sure not to overload vessels and always take weather and water conditions into consideration when operating. Falls overboard can be avoided by remaining seated and limiting how much you move around a boat when it is underway.

Stages and Effects





Step 4 - Post Rescue Collapse

A drop in blood pressure which may lead a person to become unconscious or to stop breathing at the point of rescue or up to several hours afterward.