NY parks dept. urges caution for spring boaters


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— The state parks department is urging boaters and anglers to take precautions as they head out to New York's waterways now that spring weather has arrived.

Cold water survival tips

Always wear a life jacket, even when not required. Many models also offer insulation from cold air.
Never boat alone.
Leave a float plan and know the waters you plan to boat.
Bring a fully-charged cell phone with you in case of emergency.
Wear clothing that still insulates when wet such as fleece, polypropylene or other synthetics.
If you are about to fall into cold water, cover your mouth and nose with your hands. This will reduce the likelihood of inhaling water.
Stay with the boat if possible. Get back into or climb on top of the boat.
Do not remove your clothing in cold water.
If you can’t get out of the water, get into the Heat Escape Lessening Posture (HELP).
Once out of the water, get out of the wet clothes and warmed up as soon as possible.
Source: Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation says water temperatures on lakes, rivers and streams remain extremely cold through the spring months.

The agency is reminding New Yorkers that life jackets are required until May 1 on any boat less than 21 feet in length. Also, starting next month, all boaters ages 18 and under must obtain a Safe Boating Certificate by completing an eight-hour course.

The state parks' Marine Service Unit is responsible for coordination of boating safety programs and supports marine law enforcement efforts across New York.

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