State warns boaters

HARTFORD >> With warmer weather arriving, and the opening of trout season, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection reminds boaters that even though the air temperatures are rising, the waters are still cold: in the mid- to upper-40s.

The real danger of cold water boating is often masked by the anticipation and joy of spending a day on the water.

Recent heavy rains and snow melt have caused floods, and local waters may be running faster than anticipated. It is important for boaters to check the flows and know their capabilities before heading out.

The National Weather Service has issued several flood warnings this season; go to

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.

DEEP recommends that anyone on the water, regardless of boat type, be prepared for cold water immersion.

Here are some cold water boating tips:

• Kayakers, canoers, SUPers, state law requires anyone onboard a manually propelled vessel to always wear a life jacket Oct. 1-May 31.

• Wear a hat and wet- or dry-suit; dress in layers that will retain body heat when wet (fleece); and outer layers that shed water. Avoid cotton, which stays wet and does not retain heat.

• Paddle with a friend, who can help or call for help.

• File a float plan and tell someone where you are going, what boat you are taking and when you plan to return.

• Attach a whistle to your life jacket. The sound of a whistle will travel farther than a voice and attract attention. A sound-producing device is required on all vessels.

• Carry a phone in a waterproof bag and-or a marine VHF radio. In coastal and tidal waters, a VHF radio (many handhelds are waterproof) allows the Coast Guard to pinpoint the location of the transmission and send rescuers faster than using traditional search techniques.

• Put in the boat plug before launching. On boats with engines, replace any hoses that show signs of wear before launching.

• Attach an “IF FOUND” sticker to an unregistered boat or write the boat owners contact information in the boat. This contact information can help rescuers find you faster in an emergency. For a sticker, contact

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