Warmer weather doesn’t mean warm waters in Long Island Sound

Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound LogoNEW YORK – Even though temperatures are forecasted to be in the 60s this weekend, the Coast Guard warns mariners that the water is still very cold.

Every year, Long Island Sound units respond to cold water accidents, some of which result in the deaths of unprepared boaters.  Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound responded to a tragic scenario involving a recreational kayaker who succumbed to hypothermia off the shores of Milford, Conn., in May of 2010.  Even though it was Spring, the water temperature in Long Island Sound was only in the 50s.

Cold water is dangerous because body heat loss occurs faster in water than in air.  Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature falls below 95-degrees.

“Sudden immersion in cold water can result in hypothermia and death,” said Capt. Joseph Vojvodich, Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound Commander.  “It is imperative that boaters take the time to learn about boating safety, wear life jackets, file float plans and be aware of the environmental risks.”

Even the strongest swimmer succumbs to cold water.  The body’s natural reaction is to protect the inner core by constricting blood flow to outer extremities, which is why life jackets save lives.

“Long Island Sound is a wonderful natural resource and supports numerous waterborne activities, but the environment changes rapidly; you shouldn’t be on the water unless you are prepared to be in the water,” said Vojvodich.

More information about safe boating practices can be found at: http://www.uscgboating.org/

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