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“There are three common factors in each one of these tragic accidents: cold water, no life jackets and small paddle crafts,” said Dan Shipman, Recreational Boating Safety Specialist for the 13th Coast Guard District. “All accidents included water temperatures in the upper 30s, seven of the victims were not wearing lifejackets, and eight were operating small paddle crafts.”

Sudden immersion and exposure to cold water can quickly incapacitate a person who has unexpectedly ended up in the water. The sudden immersion in cold water makes it difficult, if not impossible, for boaters to keep their heads above water and stay afloat. Wearing a lifejacket gives boaters the best chance to survive.

Snow melt and mountain runoff means spring waters in the Northwest will be cold and dangerous for the next several months. Boaters should make sure they have the required equipment – on board and in peak condition.


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