The pandemic has introduced hundreds of people in Connecticut to boating. New boat sales increased statewide last year, as people looked for safe activities.
The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection anticipates the waterways will be filled with newer boaters again this summer.
“We encourage them to take a safe boating class, make sure they have their boating license before they are going out on the water," said Wendy Flynn, who works for CT DEEP's boating division. "They should also make sure their life jackets fit everyone that is going to be on board."
According to Flynn, the state saw a 97% increase in new vessel registrations last year. New boat sales jumped about 40% in Connecticut.
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Scott Masse, owner of Oak Leaf Marina in Old Saybrook, has seen the boom firsthand. His marina is packed. All of his slips have been sold out since last year.
“Most facilities are going to be sold out and they have been for quite a while," said Masse.
Masse is urging patience ahead of Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial start to the summer season and a busy time for the marina.
"If people can be patient, be courteous, and understanding that it’s crowded, it will be a safer weekend for all of us," said Masse.
National Safe Boating Week runs from May 22 to May 28. DEEP has information on boating laws, safety classes, and other resources available here.