Warm weather sparks state safety reminder for boaters

As temperatures rise and boaters take to the local waters, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection issued a reminder on how boaters can remain safe.

“Recent heavy rains and snow melt have caused flood conditions, and local waters may be running faster than anticipated,” said DEEP Boating Division Director Eleanor Mariani. “It is important for boaters to check the flows and know their capabilities before heading out. At this time of year, it is more important than ever to take proper safety precautions to minimize the chances of going into the water accidentally and to be prepared for immersion if you do.”

Though the air temperature has hit the 70s, the water temperatures are still in the 40s. Sudden immersion in cold water can lead to cold water shock and death within minutes. Swimming generally becomes nearly impossible after 30 minutes and unless a person is wearing a life jacket, drowning is a very real possibility in these kinds of water temperatures, according to a DEEP press release.

DEEP recommends people wear life jackets with a whistle attached, appropriate clothing that can get wet and a hat. The department also recommends boaters paddle with friends, telling someone of your plans, carry a phone in a waterproof bag and attach an “if found” sticker to an unregistered boat with contact information.