Coast Guard urging boaters to take proper safety during holiday weekend


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The U.S. Coast Guard is keeping a close eye on Hermine. Their asking anyone with boating plans this weekend to do the same.

“You may want to think about coming in a little bit before late Saturday afternoon,” said Captain Andrew Tucci with the U.S. Coast Guard. “By that time we are expecting some significant wind.”RELATED: Hermine weakens to tropical storm

For that reason anyone going out on the water is encouraged to check the weather beforehand. Something you should be doing, whether there’s a storm in the forecast or not.

“Sea conditions change over a period of minutes. I mean the tide changes and the weather changes,” said Kevin Wyman, officer in charge of station New Haven. Wyman has been with the Coast Guard for 28 years. In that time, he’s seen a lot. More recently off the coast of Bridgeport. Two men went out in a small rubber boat to go fishing. The wind and waves became too much for them. One of the men went into the water and died.

“If he just had a lifejacket that would’ve saved him,” saved Wyman.

That right there is an important piece of advice. Wearing a lifejacket can save your life.

“You have to think how big the Sound is. When there’s three-foot seas out there you’re trying to find something that’s from here up and you’re not wearing a life jacket. You know most are colorful. It’s very hard to find somebody’s head. It’s like a needle in a haystack out there,” said Wyman.RELATED: State Emergency preparations for Hurricane Hermine

It’s also recommended you file a float plan. Let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back. This way if you don’t return they can contact the Coast Guard.

If you do have a boat that’s docked and you’re not able to make it out of the water you should double up on the lines this way it doesn’t get tossed around too much in any wind.

Just to give you an idea of how dangerous the water can be, the Coast Guard has responded to 428 search and rescues since May 30th. Roughly 108 lives have been saved and four people have died. Crews say a big part of the problem is people buying paddle boards, kayaks and canoes that can’t handle rough water. People who own any of these items are asked to put their name and contact information on them. This way if something floats away and is found in the water the Coast Guard can contact you to determine if you’re safe or if they need to initiate a search.

“If you as the boater are feeling a little uncomfortable that’s not the point where you say let’s stay out here. That’s where you say let’s head in,” said Cpt. Tucci.

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