Spring Boating Safety
With the spring boating and fishing season upon us, there are a few things to keep in mind regarding cold water.
Despite warming air temperatures, water temperatures remain dangerously cold. Precautions, such as wearing your life jacket and dressing appropriately, are necessary for ensuring your safety during the cold water seasons.
It is particularly important to wear a life jacket when the water is less than 70 degrees. A life jacket is critical to survival if a fall overboard occurs in that it reduces the risk of inhaling water by helping keep your head out of the water, decreases the amount of movement necessary to remain afloat, and increases your ability for self-rescue.
In addition to providing buoyancy, life jackets also provide insulation from the cold. Remember to dress for the water temperature and not the air temperature; water cools the body’s core temperature much faster than air. If you do fall overboard, protective clothing, especially a waterproof outer layer, provides some protection against heat loss.
The following simple steps can help avoid capsizing and swamping:
- Check the capacity plate on your boat and keep within its limit.
- Maintain a low center of gravity, keeping your shoulders inside the craft.
- Maintain at least three points of contact with your boat.
By taking these precautions and wearing your life jacket, you reduce your risk of falling overboard and drowning.
Regardless of the season, the Ohio Division of Watercraft strongly encourages all boaters to wear a life jacket. The Wear It Ohio! campaign raises awareness for wearing your life jacket as well as safe, responsible boating.