OLD SAYBROOK, Conn. (WTNH) — You may have noticed more boats out on the water recently which makes sense because the state says between 2019 and 2020 boat sales were up 40 percent and new vessel registrations were up 97 percent.
“I’m constantly hearing about other boaters that are truly into it that say oh there’s people who just don’t know… they’re crossing in front of me, they shouldn’t be crossing in front of me, and those types of things,” said Jerry Desmond, Boating Education Coordinator for the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
DEEP offers the 8 hour class which is needed to get a boating certificate.
It covers the mandatory equipment and navigation protocols which are all meant to keep people safe.
Proper fitting life jackets are required for each passenger.
“See it says less than fifty pounds,” said Jacob Budris, an Environmental Analyst for DEEP, who showed News8 the information listed inside each jacket.
Paddleboarders and kayakers need to wear them at all times between October 1st and May 31st. They should also put “If found” stickers on their vessel because if the Coast Guard finds it adrift it has to search for the person who may have been onboard.
“In Long Island Sound alone last year there were 38 unmanned and adrift cases and only one of them turned out to be an actual case of a person in distress,” said Petty Officer John Hightower with the U.S. Coast Guard.
“Very difficult,” said one man who wore goggles which simulate how a person with a blood alcohol level higher than .08 may perform a sobriety test. He had a hard time staying on the blue line he was supposed to walk along.
“If you choose to go on a boat to have a good time and to bring drinks with you just designate a driver or a captain,” said Alexandra Blackwell, Environmental Conservation Police Officer.
Launching your boat takes skill as well as knowledge of the proper etiquette.
When pulling the boat out of the water the DEEP says it’s also important to clean, drain, and dry it. That way you don’t transport any invasive species between different bodies of water.
“We just want to check everywhere on the trailer to make sure there’s no plants that are hitchhiking,” said Wendy Flynn, an Environmental Analyst with DEEP.
National boating safety week begins Saturday May 22, 2021 and runs through Friday May 28, 2021.