Big Bear, Ca April 3, 2011 12:00 pm – Big Bear Lake is open and the early spring is a great time for boating on the lake. Because the water temperature is quite cold as snow melt runs into the lake, a few extra precautions should be taken to make your trip safe. Personal flotation devices, also known as PFDs or lifejackets should always be worn and buckled up. This is particularly important when the lake is cold. Falling into cold water causes a reflex gasp that can result in swallowed water and drowning. An inexpensive PFD keeps the mouth and nose above the surface, allowing a second breath to be air instead of more water. Clothing should be chosen carefully. Cotton jeans, sweatshirts, and jackets hold cold water next to the body when they get wet. Polyester fleece and wool, with a nylon shell to protect from the wind are better choices. They dry quickly and keep the body warm even when damp. According to the US Coast Guard, the leading causes of boating accidents are inexperience, inattention, and alcohol. Take a boating class, stay warm and dry, wear a PFD, and wait to party until back on dry land. Take the time to pay attention to these details and a trip on Big Bear Lake this spring will be safe and fun.