Fall is here and temperatures are dropping. Even with the cooler weather, fall can be one of the most enjoyable times of the year to be out on the water.

Keep in mind, however, that even when it’s 50 degrees, if you have 20 mph winds like we so often do in Brigantine, wind chill temperatures actually drop down to near freezing. On days like these, it’s best to bundle up. Loss of coordination, rational thinking and motor skills can set in within minutes. These conditions are particularly dangerous when out on the water or even when working or walking close to the water.

If you go outside, wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.

Layering may depend on your activity level, but to best maximize your comfort, there are three layers, which you can add or subtract when outdoors.

1. The base layer: The layer against your skin helps regulate your body temperature by moving perspiration from the skin. Cotton retains perspiration, so it’s best if your base layer is made of merino wool, synthetic fabrics or even silk.

2. The insulating layer: This protects you from the cold. Wool, goose down and classic fleece are great insulating layers.

3. The shell layer: This shields you from wind and rain. The shell should allow at least some perspiration to escape. Without proper ventilation, perspiration can’t evaporate and will condense inside of the shell. Make sure the shell layer is roomy enough to fit easily over other layers and to not restrict movement.

Here are some additional tips to help you dress for the weather:

• Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.

• Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

• Wear a hat. A hat will prevent loss of body heat.

Speaking of hats, studies show the old saying that the majority of body heat leaves through your head — is a myth! The face, head and upper chest are five times as sensitive to changes in temperature, but heat will leave from any body part left uncovered. Bottom line: Dress warmly from head to toe.

Want to learn more about water and boating safety or help teach boating safety? Consider joining the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Brigantine Flotilla 85 is celebrating its 46th anniversary and always welcomes new members. Come join us and see what the auxiliary is all about. For more information email: boatsafely@comcast.net. Visit us on the web at www.uscgaux-brigantine-nj.org

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