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Travel

Travel tip: The air might be warm, but the water is still cold

Shirley McMarlin
| Tuesday, May 29, 2018, 4:00 p.m.
Early season vacationers should be mindful of the risks of swimming in cold water, says the National Center for Cold Water Safety. The Lake Erie water temperature near Erie and Presque Isle (pictured) was 54 degrees on May 29, 2018.
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Early season vacationers should be mindful of the risks of swimming in cold water, says the National Center for Cold Water Safety. The Lake Erie water temperature near Erie and Presque Isle (pictured) was 54 degrees on May 29, 2018.

Even though recent air temperatures have been steamy, early summer vacationers should be mindful of water temperatures at their beachside destinations.

It takes a big body of water a long time to warm up after winter.

For example, the water temperature of Lake Erie off the Erie shore was 54 degrees on May 29. The Atlantic Ocean was 59 degrees on the same date at Atlantic City, N.J.

That's important to know, says the National Center for Cold Water Safety, because cold water is immediately life-threatening as cold shock causes an immediate loss of breathing control and a high risk of drowning — even if the water is calm and you know how to swim.

Breathing begins to be affected in water colder than 77 degrees, and the center advises caution when entering any water colder than 70 degrees.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

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