Braving the cold at the 19th annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge at SanGetty Images

If jumping into the ocean in the dead of winter wearing next to nothing sounds crazy, that's because it is.

Yet hundreds of people along the East Coast do justthat every year.

The annual tradition is called the Polar Bear Plunge, and usually these brave souls do it to raise money for charities, mark the new year or chase the thrill.

If you're among those daredevils who'd rather splash in some icy water than snuggle next to the fire this winter, just make sure you follow the safety precautions.


Experts agree you shouldn't enter the frigid water intoxicated, nor should anyone who has high blood pressure or heart disease attempt the polar plunge.

Below is a list of officially sanctioned polar plunges in the New York/New Jersey region:

— The Coney Island Polar Bear Club hosts an annual plunge on New Year's Day, at 1 p.m. Suggested donation to Camp Sunshine — a Maine-based retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses — is $40, and participants can stop by the pub later for a pint. Get more information at

— Maybe taking an icy dip is the answer to a hangover, provided you are sober enough and feel good enough. After the partying, find out in Atlantic City on New Year's Day. The AC plunge benefits the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, and the plunge starts at noonat the Resorts Casino Hotel. Find out more at

— Kilts aren't required at the Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge on New Year's Day in Asbury Park. Dash into the Atlantic at 1 p.m., and proceeds benefit local charities. Tickets start at $10. Get more information at

— Before melting into the couch on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 5, take a plunge with the Long Beach Polar Bear Club and raise funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation at 1:30 p.m. Learn more and sign up at

— Sea Isle City hosts its plunge on Feb. 18, at 2 p.m. LaCostaLounge has a full lineup of bands and DJs all weekend long. Tickets are available for the entire weekend or for just the plunge. Get more information at

— Get freezin' for a reason in Seaside Heights. On Feb. 25, dip your toes for the Special Olympics of New Jersey. The more money you brave bears raise, the more swag — like blankets and sweatshirts — you get. Register online and get more information at

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