What is Cold Water?

You should treat any water temperature below 70F with caution.

Cold Water Trio.jpg

63F (17C)

47F (8C)

33F (0.5C)

Interesting Temperature Facts

  • 99.6F (37.5C) Core temperature of your body.

  • 98.6F (37C) Normal body temperature measured with an oral thermometer.

  • 95F (35C) Medical definition of hypothermia.

  • 91F (32.7C) Your skin temperature.

  • 85F (29.4C) Water feels pleasantly cool.

  • 77-82F (25-28C) Pool temperature range for Olympic swimming competition.

  • 70F (21C) Water feels quite cold to most people.

  • 50-60F (10-15.5C) Maximum Intensity cold shock range. 

  • 40F (4.4C) Water is painfully cold.

Thermometer  Graphic 3.jpg

Bottom Line:

There's a huge difference between the way cold air and cold water feel.  For example, 45F (7C) air feels cold, but 45F (7C) water feels like it's burning your skin.  Water has much greater density than air, it immediately destroys most of the insulation provided by your clothing, and it also conducts heat away from your body much faster than air.

The Danger

Now that you have a pretty good idea what cold water is, it's time to learn more about things like cold shock, swimming failure, sudden drowning, incapacitation, gradual drowning, and hypothermia.