NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — It will soon be the kind of weather when people want to be out on the water. The Coast Guard has a message for boaters about safety as the season approaches. Today, the Coast Guard conducted a very public rescue drill in New Haven Harbor.
The Coast Guard does rescue drills like it all the time. That’s because rescues are needed all the time.
“They maintain the ability to launch either aircraft in less than 30 minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, in nearly all weather conditions,” said Coast Guard Commander Steven Koch, Jr.
The crew flying for today’s drill is out of Cape Cod and covers everywhere from New Jersey to the Canadian border.
“It’s definitely the varsity league here in the northeast,” said AST1 Derrian Duryea, a Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer who was part of the drill. “Very big commercial fishing industry, lot of cruise ships, container ships and the pleasure craft, so we are definitely very busy here in the northeast.”
As much as Duryea loves the job, the Coast Guard does not want to have to rescue you.
“Far too often, my team and I must deliver the tragic news of boating fatalities to family and friends of those lost at sea or found deceased,” Coast Guard Captain Eva Van Camp.
That is why New Haven’s Coast Guard station is holding this drill – to remind people about boating dangers as the recreational season begins.
“Before heading out on the water, always have Coast Guard approved life jackets,” said Captain Van Camp. “Have life jackets that fit and wear them.”
Be sure to have a marine radio that can reach the Coast Guard on channel 16. Be sure you monitor the weather, and have GPS, or go one better.
“Having an EPIRB – emergency positioning indicating radio beacon,” Duryea said. “That basically takes the search out of search and rescue. We’re able to fly directly to you.”
One more thing the Coast Guard wants you to keep in mind is temperature. We may get some nice warm days that make you feel like being on the water, but that water is going to still be cold for the next couple of months. They say dress for the temperature of the water, not the air.