Guntersville Rescue Squad cautions boaters about cold weather

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- The cold temperatures can lead to life-threatening situations out on the water. Guntersville Rescue Squad members have already made several rescues during these cold months.

"They get out there, they get into trouble, they don't realize how quickly hypothermia can set in and how quickly they can get into a serious situation that they probably didn't realize was going to happen," explained Guntersville Rescue Squad public relations officer C.J. Jones. That's a situation she and other members of the organization see on Lake Guntersville when it turns cold.

There's usually nowhere to get a break from the wind on the water. Jones said coupled with freezing temperatures and splashes of icy water, that can often lead to a life-threatening situation. She says also if you fall in you only have a short time to react. "The initial shock almost renders you to the point where you pretty much can't function."

She encourages boaters to go out prepared. "Have some dry clothes in a dry bag. Have blankets, have another heat source such as HotHands, a thermal blanket, you can get those emergency blankets at Walmart. Something that if you do get wet, get back in the boat, you can get that taken care of up until you can get us out there." Check your boating equipment before you head out. Jones said they've rescued stranded boaters during frigid nights because of equipment failure.

And a life-saving precaution - "Wear your life jacket. If that's the one thing I could stress, make sure that you have that on, make sure that you're wearing it," Jones added.