Coast Guard Station Montauk and Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 18 hosted a cold water safety event in Sag Harbor on Saturday.
Cold Water Boot Camp’s Mark Chanski, a boating educator in Connecticut, and members of the East Hampton Ocean Rescue Squad presented information to educate boaters and paddle sport enthusiasts about the dangers of cold water and cold weather excursions.
“Viewers may think they would never go boating when the water is 45 degrees, but this happens all too often,” Maria Bouboulis, the flotilla commander of Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 18, said. “Once March and April roll around with the occasional 60 degree days, people head onto the water. They may not know that the water temperature is still dangerously cold and hypothermia can set in quickly. An unexpected bump or a wave may capsize a boat, canoe or kayak, throwing the person into the water.”
According to a statement from the Coast Guard, the key points were:
- Always wear a properly fitted, Coast Guard approved, life jacket.
- Know what to do in case of an emergency before you head out onto the water.
- Ensure that you have an “If Found” sticker on watercrafts such as: canoes, kayaks or paddleboards. This will help reduce the number of false distress cases for the Coast Guard and partnering emergency response units in the event the watercraft is lost or becomes adrift.
- Know the dangers of hypothermia, how quickly it can affect you and how to protect yourself against it by wearing the proper coldwater equipment, including a lifejacket.
New York State law requires that everyone aboard pleasure vessels less than 21 feet in length (including rowboats, canoes and kayaks) wear lifejackets from November 1st to May 1st.