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Boaters Urged To Prepare For Dangerously Cold Water

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is advising boaters who may be beginning their preparations to launch their boats that water temperatures can still be dangerously cold. It only takes about 10 minutes for a boater exposed to cold water to begin to experience deteriorated strength, this may cause boaters to lose the ability to pull themselves back into their vessel. It is important when boating in waters at these temperatures to avoid boating alone and remember to dress for the water temperature, not for the air temperature.

Also, be mindful that children and smaller adults will succumb more rapidly to exposure to cold water.

Here are a few reminders and recommendations to assist boaters in planning spring outings:

  • Avoid boating alone. Bring a buddy.

  • Dress to swim and in accordance with the water temperatures – not the warmer air temperatures.

  • While on the water, wear life jackets that are designed to keep your head out of water. Until May 1st, all boaters, regardless of age, are required to wear a properly fitting, Coast Guard approved life jacket.

  • The Coast Guard Auxiliary encourages all boaters to always wear a lifejacket while boating.

  • Provide a float plan to someone reliable remaining ashore to include your route, destination, number of people aboard, a description of your vessel, and the estimated time of return. Ask them to contact the Coast Guard if a trip has gone beyond the return time indicated. Find more information about Float Plans at

  • Purchase and use a marine band VHF-FM radio. Many areas experience a poor signal that may impede mobile phone use. VHF-FM radios provide a more reliable means of broadcast communication while underway. Most mobile phones are not waterproof while there are many weather and waterproof styles of VHF devices available.

  • Purchase and register a personal locator beacon and attach it to your life jacket. These beacons will automatically send an alert to rescue units if submerged in water. 

With the proper precautions you can insure a safe boating experience for yourself and your guest!

The Coast Guard Auxiliary is the uniformed civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard and supports the Coast Guard in nearly all mission areas. The Auxiliary was created by Congress in 1939. For more information, please visit

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