Coast Guard Shares Safety Tips During National Safe Boating Week

This weekend's sunny weather drew crowds towards the shore.

Lots of people daydreaming of summer fun to come, but of course, time spent on the water comes with safety concerns.

Saturday marked the start of National Safe Boating Week.

The Coast Guard stressed while it’s easy to buy a couple of paddle craft, like a kayak, canoe, or stand up paddle board, make sure you take the time to review safety requirements as we approach summer.

“The sun is finally out, but the water is still freezing cold and people don’t realize that,” said Chris Howe, a longtime Coast Guard auxiliary member who teaches boat safety courses.

On Saturday, we didn’t find any Connecticut residents risking the chilly water on a paddle craft, but the Coast Guard is seeing more and more people enjoying them each summer.

“It’s really easy to operate a paddle craft. It doesn’t require much skill, but the environment you’re in is complex and it doesn’t take much wave action to capsize and fall overboard,” said Coast Guard Lt. Alaina Fagan.

By Connecticut law, come June, adults just have to have their life jacket aboard their paddling boat of choice, not on their bodies.

“I wear my life jacket all year long. Why not? How much is your life worth,” said Howe.

A whistle or something like it is also required on board.

Coast Guard members are also begging you to label your boat this summer.

They give out stickers or you can just grab a permanent marker.

Write your name, number and a friend’s digits, too.

It's wasting resources and risking the lives of personnel, if your board goes rogue.

“Just in the last week alone we’ve already had two or three unmanned, adrift paddle craft. We never confirmed anyone was missing, but we have had search and rescue crews along with local first responders searching for possible people in water,” said Lt. Fagan.

Similar to hiking, let someone know where you plan on going and when you plan on returning.

The Coast Guard calls it a float plan.

They hope if safety is talked about now, the summer will be that much more fun for everyone.

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