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December 2010

Dress to protect

Layer on cold-weather protection

Even in southern Florida, hypothermia is a serious concern during winter boating or paddle sports. Prolonged immersion can mean trouble, even in moderate water temperatures.

If you plan to be on the water this winter, guard yourself against hypothermia by dressing in layers that will protect your core body temperature.

Wear a base layer of thermal underwear, which will wick moisture away from your skin, keeping you warm.

Next, wear a layer of neoprene, such as a wet or dry suit, to keep your body insulated.

Available in a range of thicknesses, wet suits trap a thin layer of water against the body to keep it warm. Look for suits constructed of breathable material like Gore-tex; they will keep you more comfortable than nonbreathable suits. If you wear a wet suit, you’ll need a windproof top layer, such as a jacket.

Much more expensive than wet suits, wind- and waterproof dry suits are closed at the neck, ankles and wrists by latex gaskets.

Learn more about cold-water safety by taking the Paddle Smart seminar. Find a seminar near you.

See life jackets and more at the USPS Ship's Store!

Reef (Square) knot

Use the reef knot only in low-stress, noncritical situations, as it will capsize easily. Used properly, it will bind something such as a reefed sail.

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