While I make no claim to special expertise in this area of human biology, other
than as a physicist and an experienced sailor, I repeat this comment from part
of a post this evening on Openboat. It makes good sense to me, and if it is
right and if the situation happens to arise it might just save your life.
“I have started to go for a swim every weekend to stay accustomed to the water.
It might help me control the gasp reflex, for instance.
“On an occasion when I capsized in April, I noticed the tendency to
hyperventilate. I think it is a good idea to pause and control this before
trying to right the boat. The body cannot lose all its heat in seconds.”
I am far from sure that I shall take up swimming again, but the body
undoubtedly cannot transfer all its excess heat to the water in seconds, and at
least being aware of the gasp reflex and consciously pausing (briefly) and
trying to control it before attempting to right the boat does seem to be good
sense, and might just possibly be a life-saver.