It may seem counterintuitive but a day on the water can dehydrate you just as easily as a day in the desert. Have you ever noticed how pruney your skin becomes when you are in the water for too long? Additionally, during activities like boating, swimming, paddle boarding, and kayaking, the body generates enormous amounts of body heat which leads to perspiring, which can lead to dehydration.
What Causes Dehydration?
Dehydration is the extreme loss of body fluids. Long durations under the sun and physical activities will cause you to sweat. But did you know sedentary adults could lose over 2.5 quarts of water daily?
If you are not replacing that lost fluid with water or a sports drink, you run the risk of becoming dehydrated.
It is worth noting that not all fluids are created equally. Drinks such as alcohol and caffeinated soda can cause dehydration, or at the very least, offer no value in rehydrating even though they are a fluid.
Body Functions that Speed up Dehydration
- Breathing—while obviously essential for life—can play a small role in dehydration. The very act of exhaling the air we breathe causes moisture loss. We underestimate the extent of moisture lost during breathing.
- Humans perspire to cool their bodies. As our body temperatures increase, our skin sweats. Perspiration comprises water. It also contains potassium, sodium, and other minerals. Sweat cools the skin and blood beneath it as it evaporates.
- We also lose moisture when we urinate. Ironically, the more you drink, the more you’ll have to go to the bathroom. The good news is that your visit to the bathroom can be the first indication that you are becoming dehydrated.
What are the Tell-tale Signs of Dehydration?
One of the first signs of dehydration is the color of your urine. If you find that you are eliminating a golden color, that is a sign you’re already dehydrated. The darker the color, the worse the dehydration.
Dehydration causes you to tire quickly. When you become tired, your concentration levels become compromised. This can lead to accidents.
Other obvious signs that dehydration is in advanced stages include muscle cramping, headaches, and a dry mouth. Look out for dizziness, weakness, and irritability. Low blood pressure, a faster than usual heart rate, and a reduction of blood to your extremities are the signs of extreme dehydration. Seek medical attention in serious cases.
Dehydration is Simple to Avoid
Although it might sound like the obvious thing to do, drinking plenty of water is the answer. Drinking water (not alcohol) before, during, and after all activities is imperative. It is recommended that you drink up to 8 ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes when on or in the water.
Staying hydrated when swimming is also important. This is essential to maintain electrolyte levels in the bloodstream which will reduce cramping, a leading cause of drowning.
Even after you are off the water, it is recommended that you continue to hydrate with water and or a drink that replenishes your electrolytes.
Ensure You Pack Hydration Powders in Your First Aid Kit!
A well-stocked first aid kit is a must for your houseboat vacation. Ensure you pack a few sachets of hydration powders when out and about on the water or when hiking around Shasta Lake.
Hydration powders are drink mixes comprising glucose, salts, and electrolytes. The powders enable the body to replenish lost nutrients. Delivery of electrolytes to the bloodstream is efficient and fast with hydration powders.
Aside from a cooler filled with bottled water, you can use hydration systems like PFD Hydration Packs. Kayakers can consider a deck-mounted solution such as the Camelbak Cortez Hydration Pack.
Are You Prepared for Boating on Shasta Lake this Summer?
When planning a day on the water, probably the last thing you’re thinking about is a lack of water. How prepared are you for staying hydrated? Good planning and preparation and a fully stocked cooler of water are key to having the most fun on your lake adventure.