Throughout the winter, in the coldest of cold, you’ll witness kayakers and boaters heading out on the water to get in a few hours of fishing. But is it safe?

With the introduction of military-grade survival suits, it is.

Granted, these “dry suits” aren’t going to keep you alive for any lengthy period of time, but they’ll give you a fighting chance if you fall into waters below 50 degrees – where the rapid chance of hypothermia is more a definite than a maybe.

Survival in cold water isn’t cheap, but hopefully, you consider your life to be worth it. Prices can range anywhere from $300 to $1,800. The Coast Guard and other water-working military units have dry suits with floatation built into them. Fall in with one of these things on, and there’s at least some good reason for hope. Fall off a boat using the “layered” format of keeping warm that works on land and you’ll likely sink into… well, you get the idea.

To be even more prepared, many boaters use Personal Locator Beacons that send a satellite signal to notify the Coast Guard or other authorities of your precarious situation. These devices run anywhere from $300 to $900 and must be registered so they know who you are. Many boaters and anglers are starting to employ these products, but they’re priced well above some’s means.

Less, however, than the value of staying safe.

On a note, if you purchase one of these dry suits, be ready for a struggle getting them on. At least until you get used to it. I’ve had to wear them on several military operations I covered and the first couple of times was a challenge.

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