It’s cold weather season on the Great Lakes: How to prepare

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has this look at Lake Erie water temperatures. We’re into the 50s.

The water temperature in Lake Erie has dropped to the 50s.

The temperature at Cleveland’s water intake crib was 57 degrees Monday. Which means even if the air is warm and you’re feeling brave enough to head out on the lake for one last fall jaunt, be prepared.

If you fall in the water, hypothermia — where your core body temperature drops below 95 degrees — could set in in 1 to 2 hours, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. 

Almost 90 percent of boating fatalities are due to drowning, and nearly half of those are attributed to cold water, according to ODNR. Falling in cold water is painful; your arms and lengths quickly become numb, and a disoriented victim can panic and hyperventilate.

Great Lakes Coast Guard crews are now wearing dry suits on boats.

U.S. Coast Guard members are now wearing dry suits — full-body, thermally insulated coverings that keep water out — every time they go out on a boat.

The Coast Guard recommends similar suits for recreational boaters — plus a life jacket. Officials also urge boaters to keep a marine radio with them, so you can call for help.

In the last two years, Coast Guard crew handled 142 ice rescue cases and saved or helped 121 people.

In Lake Erie, plenty of surfers and paddlers jump in the lake year-round. But they know to dress for the weather!

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