Minnesota's state motto claims we live in the land of 10,000 lakes, yet there is actually over 12,000 in this great northern state. However, one thing is for certain; all MN lakes are all too cold for swimming in the spring. This March marked several record breaking temperatures in the high 70's and I know more than a few Minnesotan's were tempted to turn on their central air yet a quick jump in the lake could have been deadly. It is normal for air temperatures in April and May to occasionally be as warm and sultry as August, making the water in those 10,000+ lakes look very refreshing. But beware. In order to swim safely, the water temperatures need to be at 70 degrees. Most Minnesota lakes do not reach a 70 degree temperature until late May. Some lakes in the northern part of the state never get that warm during the year!
It is important for all Minnesotans to understand the affects of hypothermia and cold water are not limited to the winter months. Spring temperatures in a Minnesota lake or river are just as problematic. Knowing the exact temperature of body of water is essential before taking a dip to cool off to determine how long a person can safely stay in the water. Low lake water temperatures will affect children more quickly due to their smaller size. Their bodies will not be able to withstand the cold temperatures as long as an adult can.
Coldwaterwarning.com is a website developed in memory of a 9 year old Minnesota boy who died on April 30, 2004 when he chose to swim in a cold Minnesota lake. Brian James Jacobson was a lively little boy and good swimmer. It is believed his abilities were completely stalled in the frigid water. This is a sad reminder of how dangerous cold water swimming can be.
Copyright 2012 Teri Eckholm