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With the open-water fishing season underway, keep in mind these cold-water safety precautions to ensure a great day of fishing!
By Toby Lapinski  |  April 22, 2019
Remember to dress for the water temp, not the air temp!

Wear Your Life Jacket! – Modern life jackets are more comfortable than ever before, and DEEP urges anyone on the water to wear one. It will make you more visible to other boaters and will keep you afloat, significantly improving your chances for survival.

Follow the law – All persons in manually propelled vessels (canoes, kayaks, rowboats and stand up paddleboards) must wear a properly fitting life jacket between Oct. 1 and May 31.

Do not paddle alone – Paddle with a partner and know how to get back into your boat should you fall out. When paddling with a partner, it is easier to get back into a boat or reach shore safely.

Dress for the water temperature, not air temperature – Water temperatures vary greatly around the state, but all are still what is considered cold water. At these temperatures, the risk of cold water shock and involuntary gasp reflex are elevated. This involuntary gasp reflex is a leading cause of drowning.

Share your Float Plan. Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. Make sure you let the person know when you are home safely and identify who to call if you don’t.

Maintain a proper lookout. Damaged docks, pilings and trees may be floating down rivers and into Long Island Sound. Boaters should be especially vigilant when they get out on the water to look for and avoid floating debris.

On powered vessels, check the condition of all safety and electrical systems, water and fuel hoses, bilge pumps and drain plugs. Make sure all hose clamps are in good condition. Accidents involving the sinking of a boat or fires onboard are generally a springtime occurrence.

To see the effects of cold water immersion and the benefits of wearing a life jacket, access the Cold Water Boot Camp USA video at: