Great information - I really appreciate this type of article from BPL.
I have personally experienced mild/moderate hypothermia on one occasion while rafting on an unseasonably warm May day. Air temps were in the 80's, but the water was direct snow melt and the creek I was on was soaking me frequently. I skipped the splash gear because of the warm air temp, but the longsleeve synthetic tshirt I wore under my farmer john wetsuit was keeping my upper body wet and was zapping my energy. I did not take the time to eat anything, or stop to put on the splash top, as we were pushing to get down to the main river quickly and the whitewater was nearly continuous.
The group I was in were very experienced all-season Class V+ boaters. I maintained that I felt fine, that I was just a little chilled, and I had a major adrenalin high going because of the challenging high water conditions. It wasn't until I attempted to step out onto shore to scout a major rapid that I realized that I had lost significant coordination, was experiencing numbing of the extremities, and was slightly confused and apathetic. And when I unzipped my PFD, I immediately began to shiver uncontrollably, which is what suddenly alarmed me.
I had read extensively on hypothermia and the signs and stages prior to that trip, and somehow I finally recognized the symptoms on myself, but only after it got to a potentially dangerous level. What if we wouldn't have had to stop when we did? What if we would have flipped, or I had fallen out of the boat?
My rewarming was fairly simple, but it probably took 30 to 45 minutes. It seemed like longer. I replaced my wet tshirt, put on my dry splash top (with help), ate a granola bar, drank some water, and hiked 1/2 mile uphill to the overlook in the midday sun.
There were a lot of things I did wrong that day, and at least three smarter clothing combinations that I had with me, but that I didn't use in time. I am happy to say that I have learned my lesson - I will be wearing a drysuit when I return to run the same creek this coming Saturday.
This article has reminded me of some important stategies for helping those who are the victims of unforeseen circumstances, or who are caught unaware as I was that day.