How Long Does It Take to Get Hypothermia in Cold Water? (2023)

The amount of time that it takes to develop hypothermia depends on the temperature of the water and the type of protective gear that is worn while in the water. Hypothermia occurs when a person’s body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Timeline of Hypothermia

How Long Does It Take to Get Hypothermia in Cold Water? (1)

Hypothermia can happen within minutes of falling into cold water, but the symptoms generally develop gradually.

(Video) Cold Water Survival & Hypothermia Realities

When the water temperature is 40 degrees or below, serious injury can result in as little as a few minutes. Even in water temperatures approaching 50 degrees, death can occur within the first hour of cold water immersion.

(Video) What Happens When You Freeze To Death?

(Video) What Hypothermia Does To Your Body And Brain

Although your body fat, protective gear, and many other factors influence how long someone can survive in cold water, here are some general guidelines:

(Video) This vs That: Look How Quickly You Succumb To Hypothermia

  • At a water temperature of 32.5 degrees, death may occur in under 15 - 45 minutes.
  • At a water temperature of 32.5 to 40 degrees, death may occur in 30 - 90 minutes.
  • At a water temperature of 40 to 50 degrees, death may occur in 1 - 3 hours.
  • At a water temperature of 50 - 60 degrees, death may occur in 1 - 6 hours.
  • At a water temperature of 60 - 70 degrees, death may occur in 2 - 40 hours.

What Is The Typical Medical Treatment For Hypothermia After A Fall Into Cold Water

Maritime workers are at risk for hypothermia when they fall into cold water. Hypothermia is a potentially fatal condition that must be treated quickly. If you, or a loved one, have suffered the consequences of hypothermia, then it is important to contact a New York maritime lawyer for more information about your rights.

(Video) Death By Hypothermia

It is also important to know what to do as soon as hypothermia is suspected. If a maritime worker has fallen overboard into cold water, then it is important to immediately call for emergency help. Treatment can, and often should, begin prior to help arriving. For example, the person suffering from hypothermia should be moved to a warm, dry location, provided with warm blankets and a warm beverage, if possible.

(Video) Aren’t you worried about hypothermia getting into an ice bath?

Once the worker is in the care of trained medical professionals, blood re-warming, warm IV fluids, and other warming techniques may be used to treat the worker.

(Video) Hypothermia , UPDATE - Everything You Need To Know - Dr. Nabil Ebraheim

If you have been injured or if you have lost a loved one due to hypothermia, then you may be entitled to damages. Speak with a New York maritime lawyer at 1-800-3-MAY-DAY today for more information.

(Video) How long does it take for hypothermia to kill you?


How long can you stay in cold water before hypothermia? ›

In water that is around the freezing point, a person is likely to survive only 15 to 45 minutes with flotation and possibly up to an hour or so with flotation and protective gear before the brain and heart stop (Table 1).

How long does it take to go into shock in cold water? ›

STage 1: Cold-water Shock

Initial cold shock occurs in the first three to five minutes of accidentally falling overboard. You can experience immediate involuntary gasping, hyperventilation, vertigo and panic — all of which can result in water inhalation and death from drowning.

How long can you survive in 40 degree water? ›

You'll survive for one to1 1/2 hours in 35 to 40 degree water. In water less than 35 degrees, you'll succumb fast.

How long is it safe to swim in cold water? ›

Avoid water colder than 12°C

If you feel cold for more than 10 minutes, abort the swim, and get yourself warm. Be aware that the temperature and wind on land may pose a risk for hypothermia even after exiting the water. In cold water, swim for 20 minutes only before exiting the water to warm up.

What water temp does hypothermia start? ›

Typically people in temperate climates don't consider themselves at risk from hypothermia in the water, but hypothermia can occur in any water temperature below 70°F.

How long can you survive in 32 degree water? ›

Expected Survival Time in Cold Water
Water TemperatureExhaustion or Unconsciousness inExpected Survival Time
50–60° F (10–16° C)1–2 hours1–6 hours
40–50° F (4–10° C)30–60 minutes1–3 hours
32.5–40° F (0–4° C)15–30 minutes30–90 minutes
<32° F (<0° C)Under 15 minutesUnder 15–45 minutes
2 more rows
Jul 8, 2022

What are the 4 stages of Cold Water Shock? ›

In total, there are four stages of cold water immersion, including:
  • Cold shock response.
  • Cold incapacitation.
  • Hypothermia.
  • Circum-rescue (post-rescue) collapse.

How long do you have to keep calm during Cold Water Shock? ›

Try to remain calm, relax, turn onto your back and adopt the float position. Once floating, and the initial effects of Cold Water Shock have passed (about 90 seconds) call for help and look around for anything which you can use to float or get out of the water.

What is the first stage of Cold Water Shock? ›

Stage 1: Initial “cold shock” occurs in the first 3-5 minutes of immersion in cold water. Sudden immersion into cold water can cause immediate, involuntary gasping; hyperventilation; panic; and vertigo—all of which can result in water inhalation and drowning.

How cold was the Titanic water? ›

The temperature of the water was -2.2 degrees Celsius when Titanic was sinking.

What does hypothermia feel like? ›

Shivering. Exhaustion or feeling very tired. Confusion. Fumbling hands.

What temperature is fatal to the human body? ›

44 °C (111.2 °F) or more – Almost certainly death will occur; however, people have been known to survive up to 46.5 °C (115.7 °F). 43 °C (109.4 °F) – Normally death, or there may be serious brain damage, continuous convulsions, and shock. Cardio-respiratory collapse will likely occur.

Can you get hypothermia in 80 degree water? ›

It is usually thought of a cold-weather or cold-water condition; but it can occur at temperatures well above freezing, even in waters as warm as 80°. Whenever you go boating or swimming, you need to understand and look for the signs of hypothermia.

Can you get hypothermia in 40 degree weather? ›

While hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water.

Can you get hypothermia in 70 degree weather? ›

And while the weather has been unusually warm thus far in much of the country, temperatures need not be at freezing, or even very low, for hypothermia to occur. Most cases occur in air temperatures of 30 to 50 degrees. But people can succumb to overexposure even at 60 or 70 degrees.

Can you get hypothermia from swimming in cold water? ›

It is important to note that the thermoneutral temperature of humans is approximately 37 °C, and that prolonged immersion in water colder than 35 °C may produce hypothermia as body heat is lost to the environment [75].


1. Aren’t you worried about hypothermia getting into an ice bath?
(Jimmy Moore)
2. Hypothermia , UPDATE - Everything You Need To Know - Dr. Nabil Ebraheim
(nabil ebraheim)
3. How long does it take for hypothermia to kill you?
(Ask About CELEBS)
4. Neuroscientist: “Cold Water Will INCREASE YOUR STRENGTH AND ENDURANCE BY 300%”
(Brain Mindset)
5. Cold Water Heals, If You Avoid These Mistakes. FULL GUIDE!
6. Tips to prevent hypothermia when swimming in cold water
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Lidia Grady

Last Updated: 04/11/2023

Views: 5235

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (45 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lidia Grady

Birthday: 1992-01-22

Address: Suite 493 356 Dale Fall, New Wanda, RI 52485

Phone: +29914464387516

Job: Customer Engineer

Hobby: Cryptography, Writing, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Calligraphy, Web surfing, Ghost hunting

Introduction: My name is Lidia Grady, I am a thankful, fine, glamorous, lucky, lively, pleasant, shiny person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.