SOUTH HADLEY, Mass (WWLP) — The town of Amherst posted a warning that swimming this time of year in places like Puffer’s Pond, are dangerous because water temperatures are much too cold. Cold enough to send your body into shock.
22News went to the South Hadley Fire Department to find out exactly why it’s so dangerous to swim in water that’s too cold.
“Hypothermia probably would start, in this kind of water temperature, probably anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes. The water is pretty cold. It’s probably low 50s high 40s right now, especially in the river,” Captain Jim Pula told 22News.
Captain Pula said many of their river rescue calls aren’t from locals recreationally swimming this time of year, but mainly from accidents. Accidents like fishermen losing their balance on a boat and falling in without a life vest, or locals being irresponsible near water with alcohol.
If you suddenly fall into the water, your body can go into shock, which can cause a gasping reflex, which leads to drowning. In addition to the cold water temperatures, the current is still very strong in local rivers. Pula is urging residents to wear a life preserver anytime they plan on going in the water.