Stratford Police Dept. issues boat safety reminders after rescuing two kayakers

Though summer is just about to start, Stratford police said they’ve responded to multiple water rescue incidents already this season.

Marissa Alter

Jun 20, 2022, 11:13 PM

Updated 724 days ago


Though summer is just about to start, Stratford police said they’ve responded to multiple water rescue incidents already this season.
The latest occurred Friday afternoon while the department’s marine unit was doing a routine patrol of the Housatonic River and Long Island Sound area. A call came in about two kayakers visibly in distress. Police said a 17-year-old and 18-year-old had launched from a home on Beach Drive but never put the plugs in their boats, which slowly filled with water as they got farther and farther from shore.
“When we did get in the area, we did locate the two individuals in the water who were yelling for help from the water, and at that point, the kayaks were fully submerged,” said Sgt. Joseph Maida.
Maida said the teens were in trouble, struggling to swim due to the current and tide.
“They were not wearing their PFDs and although they weren’t required to have them on at this time of year, they were required to have them with them on board, and they did not,” Maida explained.
Police were able to get both teens into their boat and bring them to shore. Neither was hurt in the incident, but it’s prompted police to issue safety reminders for what’s shaping up to be a busy season.
Maida said calls for incidents on the water have increased dramatically the past few summers because there's so many more people out there. Boat sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic.
“A lot of people went out and purchased these boats either on Marketplace or Craig’s List and didn’t take the time to find out what the proper requirements were as far as safety equipment, registration, and the proper license that is required to launch a boat here in the state of Connecticut,” Maida said.
He told News 12 people being uneducated about water safety is the biggest concern as summer begins. Life vests must be worn by kids under 12; everyone else is required to have one available on board. Maida said speed is also a big issue, as is people boating at night without navigation lights or experience.
“If it’s your first or second time, it’s not a good idea to go out there at night and try to learn your way around. It’s not like being on the road. The water moves, you’re always dealing with the current, the wind. If you do run into an issue out there on the water, it’s not like a vehicle where you can just put it in park and walk away,” Maida explained. “It’s something you can get in trouble with or can get out of hand really quickly before you even know what’s going on.”
The Stratford Police Department has copies of the 2022 Connecticut Boaters Guide available for free at the police station at 900 Longbrook Ave.

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