Just Add Water

Take the Plunge

Dive in on New Year’s Day - the water's fine


How are last year’s New Year’s resolutions coming along? All done, checked off and completed for 2011? Or are you just now trying to remember what you even resolved to do for the past year? Maybe you have actually made it up until now without breaking your personal promise, but for the majority of people out there, early spring was probably the end of the line for those resolutions (if you even made it that far).

With 2012 quickly approaching it’s time again to figure out what you’ll be giving up, working on or vowing to do for the following year. However, if you are afraid of having to back out on that promise yet again, there is another way to make the best of ringing in the New Year. While not exactly a resolution – it’s more of a good way to kick off the year – people are already gearing up to figuratively and physically wash off 2011 by jumping in the ocean this January 1.

At high noon all across the state thousands of people will be joining in Polar Bear, Penguin and just all out crazy plunges into the freezing cold water, some even for a good cause. In Newport, people will be taking the dive to raise money for A Wish Come True; across the bridge in Jamestown it will be in support of the Special Olympics; over on the other side of the bay in North Kingstown they will be supporting their local YMCA.

With an average air temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit and an average water temperature of 37 for January in Rhode Island, the event is not for the faint at heart. In order not to completely shock their bodies, the Newport Polar Bears meet every Sunday at Easton’s Beach in Newport for a noon swim to prepare. They welcome anyone wanting to join in the ritual or just watch from the sidelines for an all around good time, because the beach is not reserved just for summer in New England.

If you are thinking about joining in the festivities this year, here are a few tips to help brave the cold for first time plungers. The first is to have someone waiting for you on the shore with a dry towel to wrap you in and some hot chocolate after exiting the water. The second is to wear something on your feet while you’re in the ocean, or at the minimum, have a pair of socks or shoes ready to throw on after wrapping up in your towel. Being the first thing in and the last thing out, your feet can feel some pretty sharp pain if not properly prepared for the cold. The final tip is, no matter how cold it is or how much you don’t want to, suck it up and take the plunge – it only lasts for a few moments, but gives you bragging rights among your friends and family all year long.