In this case...
Posted by: abc on Dec-13-12 3:48 PM (EST)
Half of those replied didn't read the original post!
"a car with heater running"?
The OP has a HOUSE on the shore!
Or they didn't read the rest of the thread when the OP provided additional clarification information:
"Your hand will be useless for re-entry"?
From the OP: "at 80' out, the water is 4' deep"!
Unless the OP is shorter than 5', he can simply STAND UP, empty the boat by flipping it over, and cowboy back into it! No inflating paddle float, no pumping water out or any such nonsense. At most, it would take 30 seconds!
And if after a couple tries (1 minute), he decides it's fruitless to get back in, he can simply swim/wade back to shore. 80' takes what? 3 minutes? 6 maybe? Certainly less than 10 minutes, which is quite doable for many people. Unpleasant maybe, but not debilitating.
In college, I used to go swimming in 40 degree water once a week, wearing nothing but regular summer swim wear. It's not nearly as terrible as many here make it. Sure, it felt cold the first 30 seconds. But the body react to it and it felt almost toasty warm after that, at least for the next 5 minutes. We sometimes stay up to 10 minutes in the water.
To the OP, the most valuable advices presented so far is TRY SWIM THE DISTANCE! You'll then know how long it takes FOR YOU, and how cold it feels TO YOU. Go back to the house, warm up and come out again in different sets of clothing to find out what difference they make and decide accordingly!
Also scout the shore to make sure you can actually get on land from every point of the shore. You don't want to swim to shore only to find the vegetation is so thick you can't move through it. Or worse, a cliff bank you can't get out at all!
As someone had pointed out, you have a plan A (not capsizing), and a weak plan B (swim to shore). Make that plan B solid by actually swimming it!
I wouldn't "advice" anyone to do it or not do it. It's their own decision. They need to make it base on facts relevant to the particular individual at a specific circumstance, not some rigid one-size-fit-all rule, nor scaremonger rhetoric.