Cold Water Caution

Even if air temperatures are balmy, the lake takes much longer to warm up. Equip yourself for the weather and water temps. Photo by Tsunami Rangers.

Even if air temperatures seem balmy, the lake takes much longer to warm up. Additionally, strong currents and springtime debris are potential marine hazards this time of year. Lake Champlain temperatures are still in the 40s. If you are immersed in water that cold, you lose dexterity in less than five minutes and exhaustion and unconsciousness can set in after 30 minutes. Water temperatures of less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit can cause you to lose precious body heat up to 25 times faster than comparable air temperatures.

Water temperatures in many areas of Lake Champlain, particularly the Main Lake, never reach the 70s. Be cautious about heading out on the water and make sure you and your boat are properly equipped. Bring a weather radio or VHF with you and check the weather forecast repeatedly. Always wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD). Nine out of ten drownings occur in inland waters, most within a few feet of safety. Most of the victims owned PFDs but died not wearing them. A properly fitted, buoyant PFD can save your life, but only if you wear it.

Dress for the season. If kayaking or canoeing in cold water conditions (no matter what the air temperature is) wear a wetsuit or drysuit with an insulating layer. Here's to safe, fun adventures on the water!