The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is reminding Lake Champlain anglers and boaters that New York State boating law requires all persons aboard motorboats, canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and sailboats less than 21 feet in length to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) while on NY waters from November 1 to May 1.

New York State implemented this PFD law in the fall of 2009 after a spate of deaths occurred involving people who were not wearing life jackets while boating late in the season.

Sudden immersion in cold water after falling overboard or capsizing, particularly at water temperatures below 68°F, can overcome even the strongest swimmers. It may lead to sudden cardiac arrest or gasping and inhalation of water, the loss of swimming ability and grip strength and eventually hypothermia and unconsciousness.

“While these laws do not apply to Vermont waters of Lake Champlain, we encourage anglers and boaters to be cautious and safe while on any watercraft as water temperatures decline in the fall,” said Vermont Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry. “Wearing a life jacket, no matter what the season, is the single best way boaters can keep themselves safe on the water, and it can significantly improve their chances of survival should something unexpected happen while boating.”

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department also reminds anglers and boaters that children under 12 years of age must wear a Coast Guard approved personal floatation device at all times while boating on any Vermont waterbody.

Logo courtesy Vermont Fish and Wildlife

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