Emergency: Heat Exhaustion

Heat exhaustion occurs when the body is unable to cool itself adequately. Usually this results from exercising in a hot, humid environment and is often brought on by dehydration.

Caution should be taken when trying to nourish dehydration. It should not be done quickly.


Symptoms include:

  • Heavy sweating;
  • Pale, cool, clammy skin;
  • Muscle cramps/spasms;
  • Dizziness or drowsiness
  • Nausea or vomiting;
  • Headache;
  • Elevated pulse; and
  • Elevated core body temperature (above 37 degrees Celsius).


If you suspect someone is suffering from heat exhaustion:

  • Rehydrate the person with cool water, milk, soup or sports drinks. Caution should be taken if they are
  • Ensure they are in a cool area out of direct sunlight;
  • Loosen or remove clothing;
  • Apply a cool compress to skin;
  • Avoid giving alcohol or caffeinated beverages; and
  • Seek medical advice by using a VHF marine radio or cell phone.
REMEMBER: It is recommended that all boaters have first aid training for all medical situations.