Year 9PE student reflections of their ‘cold-water immersion’ learning experience in the Otago harbour.
On Wednesday 13 March 9GR went down to the harbour to feel what it would be like to fall into freezing cold water. The point of this exercise was to know how to respond in a situation if you were to fall into cold water. Everyone was screaming and yelling about how cold the water was. I didn't realise that I could touch in the bottom so when my foot hit the seaweed I got a heck of a fright and screamed. As soon as I got in the water a cold flush just washed over me and I was very cold, but after about 25 seconds that sensation started to go away and I started to feel a little bit warmer.
We had to get through one to three minutes of the cold shock. Your breathing and heart rate goes up and you can’t think straight. Then after that you start to warm back up. That was Stage 1.
Stage 2 is the next 20 to 30 minutes of being in the cold water. Your heart rate and breathing will come down. It will start getting hard to breathe and you will want to put you life jacket on,in the early stages because you will lose the feeling in your fingers and it will become basically impossible to do anything.
In Stage 3 which is 30 to 60 minutes in the cold water. Hypothermia develops over time. Hypothermia might take longer to develop depending on the water temperature, body composition, age or clothing.
So you are you now know what’s going to happen to your body if you fall into freezing cold water.
Lilly Bosma-Pryde 9GR
On Wednesday, 13 March, 9GR went on a short outing to the harbour for PE. For the previous two weeks, we spent our PE lessons at Moana Pool learning about ‘Water safety and aquatics’. To continue the programme, the Year 9 classes went to the harbour to learn about how to get through the process of staying in cold water for a long period of time and help other people in similar situations. It was a fun and thrilling experience. When I first got into the water, my body went through a quick shock and it felt as if a quick shiver went through my. For two minutes, my heart rate started to speed up and and my breathing pattern got faster and faster. After a while, my body started to get used to the cold water. It was like I was so cold that I started to feel warm. My heart rate slowed down my breathing went back to normal. I became much more calm and I could process what was happening more easily than before. In cold water immersion, you have at least one to two minutes to get your breathing under control, around about 10 minutes of activity that your body can do and about one hour until your body can not handle the cold water. In the one to two minutes of keeping my breathing under control, I tried to calm myself down and get my body to operate better. Then, in the 10 minutes of activity, my group was given life jackets that we had to put on. Before the feeling in my fingers went away, I put on the life jacket and huddled with the rest of the group to keep warm in the remaining time that was needed to be spent in the water. In the end, we learned how to survive and help people get through cold water situations.
Jehaan Gydien 9GR
At the Harbour once again, but for a more important reason. To learn how to survive in the world’s cruel and natural elements. The cold water. When I first got in the first stage hit me harder than fly getting swatted by my mum. The frozen water gave me a shock which lasted for a while, I clung to the board and wouldn’t let go until the shock passed and my heart rate went back to normal. I grabbed a life jacket and helped whoever else needed it and we all huddled like penguins like what it said to do in the text I just read. We all helped each other back onto the paddle board and rowed back. So if you ever fall off a boat or something, stay calm, put on a life jacket then help anyone else who needs it, stay warm and then try to get some help.
Luca Daniels 9HST
We were all on the harbour, rowing together on a giant paddleboard, singing Shallow and Yellow Submarine! The aim was to jump into the water and tread water without a lifejacket and try and get through the stressful 1.30 to 2 minute panic time! When we jumped into the ice cold water everyone was screaming and yelling, which was the reaction we all knew would happen, but weren't expecting! Personally I felt as if I only panicked for 1.30 mins, but after that I was calm and relaxed, and was treading water easily because I knew I was safe as long as I relaxed and did exactly what I needed to do at the right time. EVERYTHING that happens to you is true! I really recommend people learning water safety and survival skills and I and many others learnt so much that could save our lives. When we worked together and helped each other we were capable of survival. Yay!!
Briar Short 9HST
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