With spring-like temperatures this week boaters should be prepared

1st Coast Guard District NewsBOSTON — With temperatures anticipated in the mid-60s this week, many area boaters may feel the urge to take the winter wrap off their boat or kayak and head out on the water.

The combination of light boating traffic and spring-like temperatures can make for a great day. There are dangers though associated with spring-like weather and winter-like water temperatures. Boaters are urged to take the proper precautions before heading out.

“Boaters should ensure that they have the proper lifesaving equipment on board their vessel, that it is in good working order, and that everyone on board knows how to operate it,” said Lt. Garrett Meyer of Coast Guard Sector Boston.

To assist boaters the Coast Guard Auxiliary provides safe boating classes and free vessel safety checks.

For paddle boaters, it is especially critical to prepare before heading out.

On Thursday at 12:30 p.m., two boaters capsized in their 16-foot canoe 30 yards from Harper’s Island in Westport, Maine. The two were able to swim ashore and were rescued by Westport Fire department. Although the air temperature was 58 degrees, the water temperature was only 42 degrees.

“It is also important to remember that water temperatures are still around 40 degrees and hypothermia can set in relatively quickly,” said Meyer. “Dress appropriately for the water temperature, not the air.”

In the 1st Coast Guard District there were 51 boating fatalities, according to the most recent statistics.

Additionally, the Coast Guard recommends that boaters heading out on the water prepare a float plan and leave it with a family or friend on shore. This document will provide the Coast Guard and other first responders valuable information needed to conduct a search if the boater fails to return as planned.

Always wearing your lifejacket while onboard and having an emergency position indicating radio beacon and VHF marine-band radio in addition to all required safety equipment can help boaters have a safe and enjoyable day on the water.

On Wednesday, Rear Adm. Daniel Neptun, 1st Coast Guard District commander, signed the 1st Coast Guard District Boating Safety Program to establish a policy for the recreational boating safety program by providing guidance, objectives and stratagies created from a blend of national and regionals boating safety objects used in other Coast Guard districts to be aligned in one document.

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