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Keeping boaters safe this holiday week

New London

NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — Whether it’s hitting the high seas, the local lake, or a river… this is a busy week for boaters.

“It’s very liberating to just go where you want to go there’s no white lines to follow. You can kind of go wherever,” said boater Kelly Snodgrass.

It’s also a busy week for U.S. Coast Guard crews hoping to keep everyone safe.

“You always have life jackets and all that kind of stuff,” said boater Grace Rupe.

She is at Burr’s Marina in New London for the summer. Her concern is for other boats in her quest to sail safely.

“Everyone has auto pilot these days so they’re driving and not necessarily always looking and so there have been times when somebody is coming down on you and you’re like do they see us do they see us? I’m not sure and you kind of freak out a little bit and we can’t move that fast,” said Rupe.

“I think the main thing is to look at the weather because that’s the wild card,”said Snodgrass.

The Coast Guard says boaters should watch the weather, watch they’re speed, and don’t boat under the influence.

“We see approximately 19 percent of accidents that involve fatalities on the water the primary factor involved in that accident tends to be alcohol,” said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Benjamin Lind.

He says it’s also safer for passengers to wear their life preservers not just have them on board.

“You never know when accident could strike and we find that survivability really depends on wearing your life jacket while your under way,” said Lind.

Those on kayaks or paddle boards should also wear life jackets because the water could be shockingly cold. It’s also important to put your name and number on your paddlecraft in case it floats away.

“We waste an enormous amount of time and taxpayers dollars going out and searching for people who might possibly be in the water who are perfectly safe because their paddlecraft washed out to sea,” said Lind.

Come July 4th Burr’s Marina is going to get a lot busier and boaters tell News 8 the more courteous people are the safer everyone is as well.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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