Videos, which have recently been posted online showing American teens swimming in ice cold bodies of water around the country, sometimes after dark, has caused concern among Maine authorities and elicited a reaction from the state’s contingent of game wardens. In response to the videos, state authorities have begun conducting rescue operations training, and warning the public that, despite the arrival of spring, Maine’s waters remain extremely cold.
Members of Maine’s game warden department were recently spotted undergoing intense training in Winter Harbor, practicing search and rescue operations. According to the state’s game wardens the Gulf of Maine remains extremely cold throughout the month of April and into early May, with typical temperatures being just 39°. Though the state’s inland lakes and ponds are warmer, they too remain dangerously cold during this time of year.
The game wardens warn that these temperatures are sufficiently low to cause the human body to go into a state of hypothermia upon contact, which immobilizes the body and can lead to severe injury or death.
Game warden Rick Ouellette warns that the state’s bodies of water can remain too cold for bathing until midsummer, around the 4th of July. Warden Mike Joy says that current water temperatures are so cold that they can immediately take the breath away from bathers. These warnings are particularly important in light of the fact that a current trend on YouTube shows teens, which are not under parental supervision, daring one another to jump into cold bodies of water. The wardens insist that this can be a deadly game, and recommend that Maine teens do not participate in the practice.
State authorities recommend that those taking to Maine waters before mid-summer, for example to enjoy such activities as boating and kayaking, always where a life vest.