As I found out, the time to be unable to help myself can be under 5 minutes. That was in temperatures much warmer than winter in upstate NY. I am not the only one who indicated that kind of actual experience. Your personal experience when you were younger is not necessarily going to apply for this individual, nor does it change what others have experienced.
You are also not reading the OPer's posts well. Unless he said something in there that I missed, he has not indicated any habit or ability around an on-water re-entry. Your posit that he has an on-water option is not something I can see a basis for here.
Pull-Up Strap Handle Kit
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