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Wear something to avoid getting chilled from wet spray
when the wind blows around a bit offshore.
but it wasn't proven the two died instantly. As a matter of fact, that requires a witness. And a witness would have pulled then out. I remember the news story.. they were first overdue.
Yes I paddle there and capsize in the same area and am aware of cold water dangers. Hypothermia does not set in instantly. An hour of being in the water..yes..
Lets talk about Gulf water temperature tables.
I would have to question whether or not there were extenuating circumstances that were "really" the root cause of an instant death after a capsize into cold water. I would define instant in that scenario as a matter of seconds.
Not sure of the exact number of times I've capsized in cold water, or the temp. of the water. One time was one too many! I am absolutely positive that I have survived several instances of capsizing when the air temp was below freezing; once when air temp was in the high 20s.
Water temp unknown? On all occasions I had my canoe out of the river, and was in dry clothes within 30 minutes. Within 45 minutes I was back on the river headed downstream.
Staying close to shore in below freezing temps, and having a very well prepared "dump bag" are essential.
I would never paddle solo in those conditions; people that I would paddle with in those conditions would have to be very experienced paddlers.
I am still here; being a nuisance.
as you can get in the Gulf. As noted above in a prior response, check out the Eastern Gulf water temps -go all the way to the bottom of the list for 1 Alabama & 2 Louisiana sites and review the winter water data. Mid-50s more or less, cold and possibly cautionary, but nowhere near arctic...
THAT'S likely what you'll need to deal with and be able to handle. There'll be colder days -those numbers are averages -so that's where you'll need to start.
That said, I'll echo previous suggestions to avoid cottons and blends, layer to avoid overheating if it warms up, and maybe even go for a mid-winter swim just to get a feel for what you might be up against if the stuff hits the fan and you end up in the water.
Then check the marine forecast, dress appropriately well, and safely get out there and
-Frank in Miami