If the sunshine and temperatures in the 70s this weekend lures you to the beach or a lake stick to the shore as the water temperatures are still dangerously cold.

The weather will be nice on Saturday morning for land activities like the return of Dover Pride Clean Up Day and the Hampton Beach Village District's  Kites Against Cancer  on Sunday. As for the water, a Beach Hazards Statement was issued by the National Weather Service for Saturday advising that water temperatures in lakes, rivers and the ocean  can quickly cause hypothermia to anyone immersed in the water.

"It will be a beautiful afternoon and highs will be in the mid 70s but under the water the temperatures are still in the 40s in the ocean and just barely getting into the 50s in the lakes," National Weather Service Meteorologist Margaret Curtis told Seacoast Current.

Saturday morning the water temperature in the Exeter River was 55-60 while both the ocean and Lake Winnipesaukee were around 50, according to Curtis, who said the biggest concern is for boaters who are not properly dressed.

"When you go into cold water your body tries to shut down and goes into something called cold shock. Even if you're a swimmer, even if you could go into a nice 75-80 degree pool and swim laps for an hour when you fall into water that's in the 50s your body is going to immediately freeze up and it's much, much harder for your to swim," Curtis said.

A person could loose dexterity within minutes and be unable to accomplish simple tasks, according to Curtis. At this time of year boaters on any type of water need to be wear life jackets, a wet suit or a dry suit.

When will the water become warmer and safer?

"Our biggest concern is in May. By the time we get into mid June things warm up," Curtis said.

If someone does fall in the cold water Curtis advises to:

  • Call 911
  • Get the person out of the water and into someplace warm immediatelty
  • Remove clothing if possible and dry the victim
  • Wrap the person in warm blankets or coast and lay him/her face up. DO NOT massage limbs.
  • Give the person warm drinks or high-energy foods if he/she is conscious

Curtis is optimistic the skies will be clear Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. for the attempted launch of the Black Brant XII rocket from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia whose vapor trail could be visible in the skies over the Seacoast.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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