Conn. (WTNH) — This weekend’s temperatures are expected to hit record-highs, and amid the scorching heat, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection wants residents to remember important water safety protocols.
Although the air temperatures will reach 100 degrees in parts of the state, the water temperatures in Long Island Sound and inland water bodies remains very low and colder than during the summer months, DEEP said. While summertime temperatures range from the high 60’s to low 70’s, the current water temperatures in Long Island Sound are only in the low-50’s range.
These cold temperatures will be too cold for most visitors, DEEP said, noting that some swimmers, like children, will be at risk of hypothermia if they’re in the water for an extended period of time.
In addition to the cold water temperatures, no lifeguards will be on duty at state parks, as it is too early in the season.
Those who still plan on hitting the water this weekend are asked to proceed with caution. DEEP offered the following water safety tips:
- Watch children in the water
Parents are urged to watch their children in the water, as they can suddenly and silently drown.
- Be aware of underwater hazards
It’s important to stay alert for sudden drop-offs, inshore holes, and large rocks or tree roots that may be unrecognizable from the surface. Diving and jumping is not advise.
- Take a swimming lesson
Water safety knowledge and swimming skills can save your life. DEEP encourages people of all ages to sign up for a swimming class in their community.
- Drink responsibly
Alcohol and prescription drugs can impair judgement and reaction ability in the water.
While swimmers are at risk amid the cold water temperatures, boaters may also find themselves in dangerous situations. DEEP urged boaters to remember important protocols like using proper equipment, practice safety techniques and wear a life jacket.
Paddlers are warned to always be prepared for sudden cold-water immersion, as seven paddlers have died during the spring cold water boating season over the last six years, DEEP said.
DEEP offered the following boating safety tips ahead of National Safe Boating Week:
- Always wear your life jacket
Not only is it a law in Connecticut to wear a life jacket in canoes, kayaks, rowboats, or paddleboards between October 1 and May 31, but it’s also a preventative measure to save a life. If a boater falls into the water, the jacket will improve chances of survival.
- Don’t paddle alone
While it’s important to paddle with a partner, it’s also imperative to know how to get back into the boat incase you fall overboard.
- Dress appropriately
Although the air temperature is hot, paddlers should dress for the water temperature, as cold water immersion may occur at any time.
- File a float plan
Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. Then, let them know when you’re back safely so if you don’t return in time, they can get help.
- Maintain a proper lookout
During this time, damaged docks, pilings, and trees may be floating down rivers into the Long Island Sound. Boaters are warned to watch out for falling debris.
For more safety tips and to learn more about cold water boating, visit DEEP’s website.