MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Ice fishing is a popular winter activity across the Upper Peninsula. As people prepare to spend time on the ice. The U.S. Coast guard Air Station Traverse City have some reminders to keep people safe this year.
We spoke with Public Affairs Officer Brandon Skelly who says the water doesn’t have to be as cold as you might think to cause hypothermia. Water temperatures below 77 degrees with prolonged exposure is all it takes. Once you enter the water, every minute matters.
“One minute when you go in the water to control your breathing. You’ve got one minute when you’re going to start hyperventilating. When that cold water hits you, you’ve got about one minute to control your breathing. Ten minutes of useful time of muscle movement, you know trying to get out depending on what kind of equipment you brought with you. Depending on the water temperature and the wind chill about 60 minutes until potential unconsciousness,” said Skelly.
If you are in a situation where hypothermia may set in, Skelly said if possible, get to shelter, get the wet clothes off, dry your body, and get to a medical center as soon as possible.
“What you wouldn’t want to do is apply any ice to any kind of broken bones, you don’t want to apply ice and get that core temperature back down. You wouldn’t want to drink any alcohol or anything like that because it can be detrimental. You don’t want to apply a heat source directly to the skin,” said Skelly.
Skelly sayd not to dress for the temperature outside. You need to be able to look at the lake temperatures as well.
“If you start to see that temperature drop or you see it’s forecast to drop and any sort of high wind situation, you’re going to want to really evaluate if this is something you want to do. Even with protective clothing on and you’re not wet, once you get into those low temp, high wind situations, your body temperature can drop pretty fast. You become tired easier.”