Cold water risks: Tips for staying safe this spring, summer

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Spring is well underway — a time to shed the extra layers and enjoy the outdoors. For many, that also involves taking part in water activities. 

But keep in mind that although surface temperatures are rising, water temperatures are slow to climb. With daytimes high reaching the low 70s on average during the month of May, water temperatures throughout the northeast remain in the 50s. 

The National Weather Service has teamed up with the U.S. Coast Guard to bring awareness and urgency to cold water safety. 

According to the Coast Guard,  there were over 200 recreational boating deaths in local waters in the last 10nyears, many of which were presumed from cold water drowning. 

Also, there has been a 67% increase in recreational boating deaths in the last year — from 30 deaths in 2019 to 50 in 2020. In 74% of those cases from 2020, the victims were not wearing life jackets. 

We met with members of the U.S. Coast Guard in Nassau County to learn some cold water boat safety tips.

They said the first thing is to plan ahead. Next, wear life jacket or anti-exposure coverall. Finally, if you’re in trouble, dial 911 or contact the Coast Guard immediately for help. The easiest way to do so is on a VHFFM radio, channel 16.

You can find a complete list and other tips by visiting the National Weather Service.

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