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What are the dangers of open water swimming in winter? What do you do to avoid them?

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winter in the arctic or winter in the tropics? –  Ryan Miller Sep 19 '11 at 13:16
    
Winter in the temperate. –  Eelvex Sep 19 '11 at 14:34
    
ocean, sea, lake, river, pond? –  Ryan Miller Sep 19 '11 at 14:56
    
Sea but if you only have something to share about ocean, lake, river or pond, please do share it. –  Eelvex Sep 19 '11 at 15:11
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can wear a wet suit or a dry suit. When you first try it, have a boat go along with you, or swim very near the shore. You will likely want a hood, gloves, and boots.

If you swim unprotected in cold water, you can get hypothermia, you muscles can essentially stop working, and you can drown. It's not possible to generate enough body heat to maintain your body temperature when swimming in very cold water without protection.

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To take this a little further, ALWAYS swim with a lookout in a boat or on shore in cold water. Once you are hypothermic it may be impossible to save yourself, and even if you are usually ok, all it takes is one bad day. –  Peter DeWeese Sep 28 '11 at 16:10
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