Long Island Sound needs responsible boaters, Coast Guard says
The Coast Guard in New Haven, Connecticut, wants people, who are starting to head to the water as the weather gets warmer, to boat responsibly.
Captain Eva Van Camp, who is the Commander of Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound, said taking simple and sensible precautions ahead of time can make all the difference to people’s safety on the water.
“Far too often my team and I must deliver the tragic news of boating fatalities to family and friends of those lost at sea or found deceased,” Van Camp said.
Last year, she said there was a 30% increase in recreational boating fatalities across the Northeast. Van Camp said 90% of those were due to people not wearing life jackets.
To launch its “Responsible Boating Campaign”, the Coast Guard Auxiliary Service will provide free vessel safety checks and can also provide other resources for all boaters.
They advise boaters to always check the weather before heading out to sea. “When in doubt and if you run into trouble at sea contact the Coast Guard on Channel 16,” Van Camp said.
She reminds boaters that even though the sun is shining, the water temperature can still be cold making them vulnerable to hyperthermia.
"Dress for the water, not the weather,” Van Camp said. “Most importantly, wear a life jacket.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has proposed legislation that would reduce speeds recreational boaters would have to abide by.
NOAA wants boats 35 feet or larger to go 11 mph or less along the Atlantic coast, from Massachusetts to Florida, to protect the North Atlantic Right Whale. These zones can extend up to 90 miles offshore along the coast.
Sportfishing groups caution that vessels — no longer than 65 feet, smaller than commercial and cruise ships — might not be designed to travel at slow speeds in open waters and could capsize. They also warn it would take boaters additional hours to travel to their fishing grounds.