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Experts share tips for National Safe Boating Week

The Coast Guard advises boaters to always check the marine weather forecast prior to leaving.

Mark Sudol

May 21, 2024, 11:25 AM

Updated 30 days ago

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In honor of National Safe Boating Week, the Coast Guard is sharing tips on how to minimize risk while on the water.
The Coast Guard advises boaters to always check the marine weather forecast prior to leaving.
Water is much colder than the air temperatures, especially in early spring and summer months. Wearing appropriate, protective clothing is recommended for both boaters and paddlers.
Wearing a properly fitted, Coast Guard-approved life jacket is also important. Putting on a life jacket is difficult once one is in water, particularly when fatigued or injured.
Other tips include taking a boater safety course, knowing emergency contacts, marking one’s craft and only boating while sober.
The Coast Guard says it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol use is known as the leading contributing factor in fatal boating incidents.
Experts offer this advice:
Check the weather. Check the marine weather forecast prior to setting out on the water.
Wear the appropriate clothing. Boaters and paddlers should always wear the proper protective clothing for the water temperatures. The water is still much colder than the air temperature, especially in the early spring and early summer months. If you fall overboard, it’s going to be cold.
Wear a life jacket. Officials say all boaters and paddlers should wear a properly fitted life jacket. Putting on a life jacket is much harder once you're in the water, especially if you're fatigued or injured.
Westport fire says be sure you know the waters you are in.
"You want to know all of the navigational beacons from in this area, from Greens Ledge in Norwalk all the way to Penfield Reef in Fairfield. These are the hardest waters to navigate," said Pironto.
Some other tips include marking your craft in case you might get separated from it, taking a boater safety course, knowing who to call in an emergency, and most importantly boating sober. It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating incidents. The Westport Fire Department says it's also a good idea to make sure you have a fire extinguisher, flares and a whistle on your boat, too.
For more information from the Coast Guard, click here.


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