Top 10 Survival tips for the Polar Bear Dip

by Guest
Polar Bear Dip

The Courage Polar Bear Dip is a family tradition in Oakville that sees over 700 participants from across southern Ontario plunge into Lake Ontario on January 1st to ring in the New Year while thousands of spectators cheer them on. It’s fun and it’s for a good cause, supporting clean water projects through World Vision Canada.

Here are 10 survival tips and words of wisdom to help people prep for the Courage Polar Bear Dip in Oakville, from the Courage Brothers, who have 30 years of dipping experience:

  1. Good Night Sleep (Ha!) – For those who don’t get a good sleep and have cobwebs to clear… remember that’s how the event started! A truly great post-party cure.
  2. Dress warm leading up to the actual dip at 2:00 PM.
  3. Wear water shoes going in (flip flops and other fashionable summer footwear are ineffective and come off. This is a winter water event!).
  4. Scream as you hit the water. Some people feel anxiety or stress when they are waiting to run into the frigid water of Lake Ontario. Screaming has been proven to help relieve stress.
  5. The water is shallow so keep running until you can’t feel your legs, at that point the water should be deep enough to submerge and return to shore. If you wait any longer to submerge, your legs may not work too well.
  6. Worry about your own survival. Every man, woman, and child for themselves. You are already doing something great by raising money and bringing awareness to the event. There is only so much you can expect from yourself.
  7. Bring plenty of dry, warm blankets, towels, a housecoat, easy to slip on boots, or shoes to dry and warm up as quickly as possible when emerging from water.
  8. Find a responsible spotter to help you with that previous point.
  9. Use the heated tents to change into your warm extra set of clothing.
  10. Not so much of a tip but… highlight your accomplishment by joining Polar Bear Revelers at the official post-dip party at Tin Cup in Oakville immediately following the event.

The 30th annual Polar Bear dip starts at 12:30 PM, with the dip at 2:00 PM, on January 1, 2015 at Coronation Park in Oakville, Ontario. To date, more than 1.2 million dollars has been raised from the events. Find out more at

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