This report was requested by the Marine Safety Directorate of Transport Canada to address the problem of survival in cold waters.

It is divided into six specific chapters:

  1. a brief introduction to the problem;
  2. the physiology of cold water immersion;
  3. the research that has been conducted to protect the human from the dangers of sudden cold water immersion;
  4. the design and development of current immersion suits;
  5. the inter-relationship between the immersion suit and the lifejacket, and
  6. a review of the different groups of people who fly over, work on or play on the water and what protection these groups need.

The report is designed to provide knowledge to a wide variety of people, for instance, on the one hand to pathologists and coroners conducting autopsies and investigations on drowned victims through to young physiologists starting their career in thermal physiology; from manufacturers of immersion suits to cruise ship operators required to provide protective clothing for their ship’s company; and from naval medical officers and marine safety inspectors who need to understand the problems of the dangers of cold water to masters of fishing vessels who also need to know the problem and do not know where to get the answer. Therefore, each chapter has been written as a standalone chapter and can be read on its own. For those who wish to obtain only superficial knowledge and not delve into more detail, there is a summary of the contents at the end of each chapter, then the reader can skip to the next chapter of interest. It also incorporates the contents of the first edition of Transport Canada TP 13822E, published in August 2001, which specifically addressed the new knowledge gained on cold shock and swimming failure.