A very common question at Lee's Ferry is, do we have to wear our life vests?
Seeing the calm water people can get a false sense of security. DON'T! This water is a killer. Every year, people needlessly die on the Colorado River, and Lake Powell. There is one very common item missing from this death equation, A LIFE VEST.
The water temperature at Lee's Ferry is Life Threatingly Cold at 49 degrees Fahrenheit (9.4 C). Even though you might think you are a great swimmer, it is extremely hard to swim in 49 degree water. At the first submersion, your body is shocked. Gasping immediately starts, adrenaline immediately pulses into the system trying to tell you that you are in trouble. And you are! You have minutes to deal with many variables for your survival and your ice cream brain is not going to be at its best. Most people get the hint and immediately start swimming for safety, but how far you need to swim can mean life or death? In order to make the life threatening swim one will need there arms and legs, lungs and reflexes. After first submersion, blood is being shunted from your arms and legs to protect your core. As blood leaves your extremities to protect your core, muscles start to lose their higher function and even cramp. The harder you swim the more the cold water passes over your skin increasing the effect. You think the life vest you are siting on is going to help? Impossible to put a life vest on in the water. Please watch these videos for more info on hypothermia.
If these videos don't do it for you, and you are willing to die to be "cool", think about others like potential rescuers, your family, body retrieval specialists that will be traumatized by your death.
PLEASE WEAR YOUR LIFE VEST, and everyone will know ~ you are No Dumby.
Douglas Tompkins, co-founder of the North Face outdoor company who poured millions into conservation, has died after falling into near-freezing waters during a kayak accident in southern Chile.
Tompkins, 72, was taken with acute hypothermia to a hospital in Coyhaique after high winds flipped his adventure kayak during a trip across Lake General Carrera in Patagonia on Tuesday, reports said. He died about six hours after arriving at hospital in the regional capital.