The importance of keeping yourself hydrated on the water can not be
stressed enough. Its the one thing that can save you from serious problems on the
water. Whats funny is anglers will make sure fluid levels in their vehicles are
full, but they ignore their own fluid level needs. The same problems that can arise in an
automobile, namely overheating, can occur in an angler as well. When Im on the
water, I drink 6 to 8 ounces of fluids every half-hour if possible. Whether thats
water or a "sports" drink is up to you. I prefer water, but no matter what you
choose, the body will absorb fluids better if at room temperature or slightly chilled
between 45 and 55 degrees.
I always stay away form caffeinated drinks like soda, coffee and tea, which act as
diuretics and actually increase dehydration. I dont drink alcoholic beverages for
the same reason. Save the "cold ones" for when you get home. Studies show that
people in extreme heat situations dont drink nearly enough fluids required to
prevent dehydration. Most folks only drink enough to replace about two-thirds of
whats needed and thats enough under extreme circumstances to cause problems.
Just as up to 80% of your body heat is lost in winter through your head, about 80% of
water in the body is lost through perspiration. This is your bodys way of keeping
you cool. If a machine is low on fluids it will struggle to keep up with its own
demands under extreme heat and the body is no different. Without replacing valuable fluids
and nutrients, the body will struggle and overheat. The cardiovascular system struggles
and cant deliver enough oxygen to the rest of the body and the result is fatigue
first, then more serous problems ahead. If fluids are lacking, the body cant adjust
its cooling system and other symptoms like headaches, nausea and cramps set in. Fast
heartbeat, low blood pressure, shock and even death can occur if the body machine is
denied fluids over prolonged periods. Doesnt sound like a pleasant time on the water
You can combat all this and stay focused, alert and somewhat comfortable in the heat by
doing a couple of simple things. First, drink 16 ounces of water a couple of hours before
heading out into extreme heat and the sun. This gives the body plenty of time to regulate
its fluid levels in preparation for time in the sun. It also helps to delay dehydration.
Secondly, while fishing or boating on the water drink before you are thirsty. This is
very important because by the time your body tells you youre thirsty, in extreme
conditions you may be too late. Drink at regular intervals as stated earlier. I drink 8
ounces of water every 30 to 60 minutes, but everybody has a different tolerance level, so
find out what yours is. About 8 ounces of fluid is needed to replace a pound of body
weight lost to perspiration in the sun.
People seem to drink more if the beverage tastes good. Bring along lemon or lime slices
to add to your water to freshen it up a bit, or take along sweeteners or flavored sports
drinks if thats what you like. There have been studies and surveys done saying
unless youre extremely active running marathons or playing many hours of high
intensity sports, you get the replacement nutrients you need by drinking plain old water
and sports drinks may be over doing it. Its your choice, but water is a lot less
expensive in the long run.
Remember to keep your fluids up and at their normal operating levels. The time you
spend on the water, boat or beach will be safer and that much more enjoyable no matter how
extreme the heat.