News 8 was out on the Connecticut River patrolling the Long Island Sound with DEEP, checking on boaters to make sure they were staying safe, and were dressing for the cold water and not the air temperature.
Mark Chanski from the DEEP boating division took News 8 out of the harbor in Old Lyme.
“This time of year we are always on edge,” Chanski said. “We don’t want to open up the newspaper or hear from our officers that there was a fatality. “
There was a small craft advisory on Tuesday afternoon, a warning for people and canoes and kayaks and paddleboards.
Captain Keith Williams of EnConn Police said, “You don’t realize how strong the current is as well if you’re not familiar with the vessel that you’re paddling, you can lose control very quickly and find yourself upside down.”
The air temperature was in the 60s, which made the water temperature in the 40s. If you go in, experts say you have about 10 minutes before you lose useful movement in your body.
“It is a sudden shock, when people going to the water they going to a state of shock,” said Sergeant Steve Stanko of EnConn Police. “They freeze up and can sink easily that way. In terms of lasting, you don’t have much time at all. It is critical in the first few moments that you try and get out of the water. “
Chanski said lifejackets are really really key. A lot of people say they’re too bulky or uncomfortable, but many inflate with just one pull and would be there when you need it.
Chanski said, “90 percent of boating fatalities are drownings and 80 percent of those people are not wearing lifejackets, so there is a huge area of improvement there.”
Add one more request from DEEP; It’s very important to put your name and phone number on your boating craft. If it breaks loose from the dock or blows in, people can find it and call you. That way, they know if you’re in the water and should be on a search and rescue mission, or if you are at home and it blew away in the wind.