Boats – and the water – can provide welcome relief from the record high temperatures many parts of the country – and indeed the world – have experienced this summer. Still, boaters need to be mindful of the heat, as well as prolonged exposure to cooler water. Experts from ONE°15 Brooklyn Marina, the city’s newest recreational marina, set on eight acres between Piers 4 and 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, offer some safety tips.
1. Be aware of the temperature differential between land and water
Despite the sting of the heat, and warm water surface temps, water below the surface can be quite chilly, and can quickly tire you out, especially in the northeast.
ONE°15 Brooklyn Marina’s Director of Sailing, Stephen Yip, says he and his team always wear Personal Flotation Devices around the dock and on the boats.
Yip says they “quickly get used to” any bulkiness of the PFD, and reminds boaters that the vast majority of boating-related deaths are the result of drowning, and that most of the victims were not wearing life jackets.
2. Understanding heat exhaustion
The flip side of chilly water is heat exhaustion, as the grueling sun can quickly catch up to boaters, especially if you are performing any kind of work on the boat, and getting dehydrated.
Heat exhaustion is strongly related to the heat index, which is a measurement of how hot you feel when the effects of relative humidity and air temperature are combined. A relative humidity of 60% or more hampers sweat evaporation, which hinders your body’s ability to cool itself. Non-breathable clothing further compounds the problem.
The risk of heat-related illness dramatically increases when the heat index climbs to 90 degrees or more. So it’s important – especially during heat waves – to pay attention to the reported heat index, and also to remember that the heat index is even higher when you are actually in full sunshine.
The most common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration)
Muscle or abdominal cramps
Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
WebMD says if you, or anyone else, has symptoms of heat exhaustion, it’s essential to immediately get out of the heat and rest, preferably in air conditioning.
3. Heat stroke
Heat stroke is the most serious form of heat injury and is considered a medical emergency.
Heat stroke results from prolonged exposure to high temperatures – usually in combination with dehydration – which leads to failure of the body’s temperature control system. The medical definition of heat stroke is a core body temperature greater than 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Common symptoms include nausea, seizures, confusion, disorientation, and sometimes even loss of consciousness or coma.
Despite the fact that all heat-related deaths and illnesses are preventable, the CDC says each year in this country an average of 650 people succumb to extreme heat, and thousands more visit emergency rooms with heat-related issues.
ONE°15 Brooklyn Marina urges boaters, water enthusiasts and visitors alike to know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and to know current water – and weather – conditions before journeying out.
ONE°15 Brooklyn Marina is set on an esplanade in Brooklyn Bridge Park, with 105 slips accommodating vessels from 16 – 200-plus feet in length. As the first new marina in New York City in decades, the operation is helping the city rediscover its waterfront roots.