Warm and Cold, a Dangerous Mix: Early Season Boating Tips

Warm and Cold, a Dangerous Mix: Early Season Boating Tips

While the weather is warming up, water temperatures still have not caught up. June is still considered to be “cold water season,” as water temperatures are still below 70 degrees. Temperatures this cold can trigger your gasp reflex and incapacitate even the strongest swimmer. Cold water has the ability to conduct heat away from the body 25 times quicker than cold air, so when water temperatures are below 70 degrees, hypothermia is able to set in quickly. Since hypothermia sets in quickly, this means you will not have a lot of time to get to safety. So before you head out on frigid waters, make sure you know some potentially life-saving early season boating tips to help keep you safe.
Early Season Boating Tips
With water temperatures this cold, boaters are strongly urged ALWAYS to wear a life jacket and follow the proper precautions before hitting the water:

• Review the boating regulations for your state
• Check your safety gear (GPS devices, flares, emergency locator beacons, life jackets, VHF radios, etc.)
• Inspect your boat
• Check your exhaust system for carbon monoxide leaks
• Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket when out on the water
• Check the weather, water conditions, and water temperature before you go
• Avoid using alcohol
• NEVER overload the boat
• Stay seated, and, unless necessary, don’t stand up or move around
• Always travel at a safe speed
• Prepare a float plan
• Ensure that there is a robust first aid kit on board
• Pack food and water, even if you are planning on only being out for a short time
• Make sure to check your drain plug!

Before you launch this season, verify that your boat is properly equipped with the following:

• Whistle or horn
• Safety equipment
• Working navigation lights
• A 16 foot or longer throwable flotation device
• One U.S. Coast Guard-approved jacket for each passenger
• A U.S. Coast Guard-approved, type B fire extinguisher
• A valid boat registration
• Visible registration numbers

New York Marine Trades Association