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Group warns of cold water temps for paddlers despite warming air temps in Michigan

Kayaking Michigan Lake Superior
Posted at 10:54 AM, May 03, 2021

While the temperature in Michigan is starting to warm up, waters across the state are still cold coming out of winter, which can be dangerous for those who are paddling on the water.

Paddle Antrim, in northern Michigan, is warning people to take precautions to protect themselves from unexpected cold water immersion during early paddling season.

Grand Traverse Bay, for instance, is only around 40 degrees.

Paddle Antrim said that when water temperatures are below 70 degrees, paddlers should wear a wetsuit or full immersion drysuit with insulating layers.

Sudden immersion in cold water can cause gasping and inhalation of water, leading to hypothermia and possible drowning.

“We encourage people to get out and enjoy the water but we also want to make sure people are safe at all times,” says Paddle Antrim Executive Director, Deana Jerdee. “While no one is ever expecting to fall in while paddling, it happens and paddlers need to dress for being in the water, not for the air temperature.”

For those looking to paddle or kayak, make sure you're wearing a life jacket, dress for the water temperature, avoid going alone, carry essential safety gear and refrain from drinking alcohol.