Organisation - September 23, 2011

In the water with your waders

Imares employees often have to wear waders and there are some really strange stories doing the rounds about what happens if you fall in the water. Imares 'myth buster' Dr. Karin Troost decided to investigate; the result is a thrilling film clip.

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Waders are those waterproof trousers that go up to your armpits. They let you wade from a boat to a sandbank without getting wet. But what if you fell overboard while wearing waders?

Staff were spreading all kinds of urban myths. The biggest fear was that the trousers would be full of air, causing your feet to float to the water's surface. You would spend your final minutes flailing your arms underwater staring at your feet above. Not a nice thought.
Dr. Karin Troost, who heads the annual shellfish surveys in Yerseke, was curious to know what would really happen. She hired a swimming pool and various colleagues were prepared to go in the water.
'We were indeed a little scared beforehand', says Troost. 'Two people were in attendance at the pool to intervene if things went wrong, and there was a first aid officer as well.' However, the spectre of the air pocket and floating feet turned out not to be true. 'The biggest danger seems to be hypothermia and exhaustion.' If you fall in the water you are likely to be wearing a lot of clothes and a raincoat, and carrying a rucksack. With the waders as well, which fill up with water, you are far too heavy to climb back up the side. 'The best option is to unclip the waders and kick them off before you are hoisted back on board. And if you are close to a sandbank, you can put you legs on the bank and let the water run out of the waders.'

The entire exercise in the swimming pool was filmed. There has been a clip on YouTube since 20 September but a more serious instruction film for people wearing waders will come out in October.
 

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