PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WVEC) -- As the winter months ease into spring, the warmer temperatures can be deceptive. Especially, when it comes to being out on the water which is still freezing.
The Coast Guard teamed up with the National Weather Service to warn the public about cold water risks.
"Right now, the water temperature out in the lower bay is in the lower 40's, so survival time is only about an hour and a half, and that's for someone without a life jacker that survives the initial submersion and knows how to swim," said Captain Rick Wester, commander of Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads. "Really, the best rescue is the one we can prevent in the first place."
Unfortunately, Hampton Roads got a grim real-life reminder of the danger over the weekend in Isle of Wight County.
That's where the body of a duck hunter who was reported missing in January washed up. Brian Austin Savage's jon boat had overturned in the muck near Hog Island.
His cause of death was drowning.
The Coast Guard and the National Weather Service paired up to issue periodic statements on cold water hazards.
Especially, for kayakers and other paddle boarders who can be placed specifically at risk as winter ends and spring begins.
They're calling the program the "Paddle Risk Cold Water Warning."
"It's really an education program.," said Jeff Orrock, meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Wakefield office. "We'll say this is a risk day, here's why, and here's what you need to be prepared for."
The warnings will cover Virginia, Northeast North Carolina, and lower Maryland Eastern Shore. They will have the warnings broadcasted on local media and posted on Facebook, Twitter, and the agencies' own websites.