The fifth annual Dip 4 Derek Polar Challenge splashed off at high noon at Lincolnville Beach Jan. 1, New Year’s Day, with a group of hardy souls tossing off blankets and robes before plunging into the frigid waters of Penobscot Bay.

The event has been held at the start of each new year to raise funds for the Derek O’Brien Trust. This year, O’Brien asked that the funds be directed in part to the Penobscot Bay Area YMCA to help purchase and install a handicapped-accessible, automatic entrance door.

On Jan. 1, the water temperature hovered around 41 degrees Fahrenheit, with the air temperature approximately 13 degrees cooler. Snow was falling, and a breeze off the water kept the day at the beach a short affair for all but a few dippers who actually took some time to swim. Standing by and watching intently were members of the Camden First Aid Association, just in case.

O’Brien, who suffered a broken spine in 2005 in a swimming accident, is a student at the University of Maine. He has spent considerable time since his accident receiving therapy at the YMCA, and knows firsthand the need for the door so that he and others in the community like him can open it on their own.

Donations may be made to the Derek O’Brien Trust, c/o Peter Roper, 10 Spring St., Camden, ME 04843.