Darien Police marine division advises watercraft safety tips
The Darien Police Marine Division would like to remind boaters, kayakers, paddle boarders and anyone else using town waters of early season boating hazards.
“While spring is upon us and we all are dealing with Covid-19 restrictions and precautions, we are quickly going to find the temperatures appealing to want to be outdoors more,” the division said in a press release.
In the spring of 2019, the Darien Police Marine Division rescued three separate kayakers who were overcome by large waves or a rapid change in weather conditions. Fortunately they were able to summon help, but these incidents could have had a tragic outcome.
For the rest of the advisory, read below.
Wear your life jacket
Is it the proper size and in good condition? There must be a wearable life jacket aboard for each person.
During the period from Oct. 1 through May 31, all persons on board a manually propelled vessel must wear a Type I, II, III or V, U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device and no operator, or owner or user of a manually propelled vessel shall allow any person to be aboard who is not wearing such a device.
The operator or owner of any vessel being used for recreational purposes must require any child 12 years of age and under who is aboard such vessel to wear a personal flotation device while the vessel is underway unless the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin.
As of April 14, Darien waters were approximately 43 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold water is defined as any water with a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. The first impacts of entering cold water are panic and shock. The initial shock of entering water this cold can severely strain the body and may cause cardiac arrest. Survivors of cold water accidents often describe having their breath “knocked out” of them, causing involuntary gasping which could result in drowning. In water this cold, within 10 minutes you can lose muscle control where simple tasks like keeping your head above water can become increasingly difficult. Longer exposure can lead to hypothermia and death.
The Darien Police Department urges that the following safety measures are taken to protect yourself and maximize your enjoyment of the water:
- When you are on the water always wear your life jacket
- Consider water temperature as well as air temperature when venturing out on the water.
- Wear cold water protection gear for the water temperature, not air temperature. Dress for immersion no matter how confident you are on the water.
- Always let someone know your plans.
- Be sure to check the weather forecast and water conditions before you go out on the water.
-Carry a signaling device or whistle and a VHF radio.
Please use extra caution if venturing out into cold water. Be on alert for gusty winds or choppy conditions that can easily result in immersion, and always study forecasts before planning your outing. For routine questions members of the Darien Police Marine Division can be reached by calling the police department’s routine line at 203-662-5300. Please dial 9-1-1 for any emergency.