Chart: Cold Water & It’s Effects

What to wear with cold water but warm air temperature shouldn't be confusing if you know the consequences.

This Chart will help you decide. No matter what the air temperature, dress for the water temperature!

 

Water Temperature
in Degrees F (Degrees C)

Loss of Dexterity (with no protective clothing)

Exhaustion or Unconsciousness

Expected Time of Survival

Recommended Paddling Clothing*

32.5 (0.3)

Under 2 min.

Under 15 min.

Under 15 to 45 min.

Drysuit with fleece layers, neoprene booties, beanie, gloves

32.5 to 40 (0.3 to 4.5)

Under 3 min.

15 to 30 min.

30 to 90 min.

Drysuit with fleece layers, neoprene booties, beanie, gloves

40 to 50 (4.5 to 10)

Under 5 min.

30 to 60 min.

1 to 3 hrs.

Drysuit with fleece or polypro layers, neoprene booties, beanie, gloves

50 to 60 (10 to 15.5)

10 to 15 min.

1 to 2 hrs.

1 to 6 hrs.

Drysuit with polypro layers or wetsuit plus drytop, neoprene booties, hat

60 to 70 (15.5 to 21)

30 to 40 min.

2 to 7 hrs.

2 to 40 hrs.

Wetsuit with light paddling jacket, paddling shoes, hat

70 to 80 (21 to 26.5)

1 to 2 hrs.

2 to 12 hrs.

3 hrs. to indefinite

Thin or shorty wetsuit

Over 80 (Over 26.5)

2 to 12 hrs.

Indefinite

Indefinite

Swimsuit

* This table is intended as a basic guide for paddling apparel selection for various water temperatures. If water/weather conditions are rough or paddlers are inexperienced, clothing one or two levels more protective should be considered. Always wear a PFD.