DEEP Urges Water Safety Ahead of Record-Breaking Temperatures Expected This Weekend
Safety In and On the Water Should be Everyone’s Priority; Water Temperatures Remain Very Low, Lifeguards Not On Duty Yet at Designated State Swimming Areas
(HARTFORD, CT) – With record-breaking temperatures this weekend, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) urges all residents and visitors getting in or on the water this weekend to prioritize water safety.
While the air temperatures will soar to record breaking levels this weekend, the water temperatures in Long Island Sound and inland water bodies remains very low, and are much colder than we will see during the summer months. Currently, water temperatures in Long Island Sound are in the low 50-degree range, while summertime temperatures range from the high 60’s through the low 70’s. Many inland waterbodies also remain in the 50-degree range.
Visitors to our state parks should also be aware that there will be NO LIFEGUARDS ON DUTY this early in the season, and that water safety is EVERYONE’s responsibility.
Most visitors will find the current water temperatures much too cold to enter the water to cool off on what will be very hot days. There is also a very real danger of hypothermia for swimmers, particularly children, who enter the water for any extended period of time.
If you do enter the water, remember...
- Parents- Watch your Children
It only takes seconds for a child to drown, and this can occur silently. Please ALWAYS watch your children; if you are more than an arm’s length away, you’re too far!
- Be Aware of Underwater Hazards
Natural swimming areas can have sudden drop-offs, inshore holes, large rocks or tree roots that can’t be easily seen from the surface. Diving and jumping into these waters can be hazardous. Please be careful of these unseen dangers.
- Swim only in the designated areas
- Take a Swimming Lesson
Increasing your water safety knowledge and swimming skills can help save your life. People of all ages should consider signing up for a swimming class offered at your local YMCA branch, American Red Cross Chapter, or municipal parks & recreation department.
- Drink Responsibly
Excessive alcohol consumption impairs judgment and reaction ability. Even prescription drugs may impair judgment.
DEEP reminds all boaters that cold water temperatures create substantial dangers to unprepared recreational boaters even though air temperatures are forecast to be high this weekend. Paddlers should exercise caution and use proper equipment, practice safety techniques, wear a life jacket, and avoid dangerous situations. Paddlers should always be prepared for a sudden cold-water immersion. Over the last six years, Connecticut families have grieved the loss of seven paddler fatalities during spring’s cold water boating season.
As National Safe Boating Week runs from May 21 – 27, DEEP offers a number of smart practices for all boaters to remain safe while on the water:
- ALWAYS WEAR YOUR LIFE JACKET – Connecticut law requires anyone in canoes, kayaks, rowboats or stand-up paddleboards to wear a properly fitting life jacket between Oct. 1 and May 31. If a boater ends up in the water, a life jacket will make you more visible to other boaters and will keep you afloat, significantly improving your chances for survival.
- DO NOT PADDLE ALONE – Always paddle with a partner and know how to get back into your boat should you fall overboard. When paddling with a partner, it is easier to get back into a boat or reach shore safely.
- DRESS APPRPROPRIATELY - Paddlers should dress for the water temperature not the air temperature. Water temperatures can vary greatly around the state during the spring, but all are still below 68 degrees Fahrenheitwhich is considered cold water. Cold water immersion increases the risk of cold-water shock and involuntary gasp reflex which is a leading cause of drowning.
- FILE A FLOAT PLAN – Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. Make sure you let the person know when you are home safely and identify who to call if you don’t.
- MAINTAIN A PROPER LOOKOUT – Damaged docks, pilings and trees may be floating down rivers and into Long Island Sound. Boaters should be especially vigilant when they get out on the water to look for and avoid floating debris.