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DEEP Promotes National Safe Boating Week May 20-26

With Summer Around the Corner, DEEP Reminds Boaters to Wear a Life Jacket and Be Safe on the Water

(HARTFORD) – The Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) announces the start of National Safe Boating Week, which runs from May 20 – 26, 2023, the week before Memorial Day Weekend. This observance week is the annual kick-off of the Safe Boating Campaign, a global awareness effort that encourages boaters to boat responsibly and wear a life jacket on the water.

Connecticut is fortunate to have a variety of ponds, lakes, rivers, and coastal waters around the state that offer countless boating opportunities. DEEP is using National Safe Boating Week to enhance boaters’ understanding of boating safety.

“Our waters are a treasure for so many Connecticut families and visitors, whether we’re boating, swimming, fishing, birdwatching, or simply enjoying the outdoors,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes. “National Safe Boating Week is one of many ways we engage with boaters throughout the year. DEEP staff are always ready to help educate boaters and provide information that can help people enjoy their time on the water safely.”

U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in four out of every five recreational boating fatalities in 2021, and that 83 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

“The most enjoyable boating experience is the safest boating experience,” said Boating Division Director Peter Francis. “Being aware of potential hazards and ensuring you have proper safety equipment is critical. With the uptick in the number of boats on Connecticut waters since the pandemic, it’s even more important that boaters prepare properly and get home safely.”

During the week, DEEP will be posting valuable boating safety information on our social media platforms and at in-person boating safety outreach events. DEEP staff will also be reaching boaters while aboard the outreach vessel Prudence on both inland and coastal waters. Information about in-person events will be posted on the Boating Division’s social media accounts.    

DEEP recommends these safety tips for boaters:

  • Take a boating course. A boating certificate is required to operate a vessel in most situations in Connecticut, but even if it’s not, more boating knowledge is always beneficial. A list of available DEEP-administered classes,  both virtual and in-person, as well as other organizations that offer courses, is available here: Boating Classes (
  • Get a free vessel safety check. If you use a state boat launch, look for our employees who will perform a complimentary one.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol and boating don’t mix. While on the water, the sun, wind, noise, vibration, and motion are all considered "stressors" common to the boating environment. They intensify the effects of alcohol and drugs, which greatly reduces a boat operator's coordination, judgment, and reaction time. Alcohol also makes the body more susceptible to the effects of cold water.
  • Check fire extinguishers and fuel systems. Boating fires are generally a springtime occurrence.  With a little vigilance, such occurrences can be prevented.
  • Wear your life jacket. Connecticut joins the National Safe Boating Council in its efforts to promote wearing a life jacket at all times. Today’s life jackets are more comfortable and lightweight than ever. Putting one on before heading out could save your life. Information about how to choose and wear one is here: Life Jacket Wear / Wearing your Life Jacket (
  • File a float plan.  Always let someone on shore know the trip itinerary, including the operator and passenger information, boat type, and registration, and communication equipment on board.

By adhering to these simple steps and practicing responsible boating you can help create a safer, more enjoyable boating environment for everyone on Connecticut waters. Additional information can be found on the Boating Division website - Boating and Paddling ( - and in the 2023 Connecticut Boating Guide - Connecticut Boaters Guide.

Follow DEEP Boating Division on Facebook @BoatingInConnecticut or Twitter @CTBoatingInfo.

Twitter: @CTDEEPNews
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DEEP Communications