Stamford DPSHW

Boating Safety 2

As the days grow longer and warmer, we all look forward to outdoor activities. Many Stamford residents enjoy our waterfront during the Spring months, and boaters should remember the following tips from the U.S. Coast Guard:  


Cold-water immersion is the cause of many boating-related fatalities. The danger increases as water temperature decreases below normal body temperature (98.6 Degrees F). Spring water temperatures can be in the 30-40 degrees early in the season.

Dos and Don’ts

  • Do make sure that onboard a manually propelled vessel wearing a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) is the law from October 1st to May 31st.
  • Do make sure everyone is wearing a life jacket. Even experienced swimmers will experience shock within one minute in the frigid water and lose muscle control within 10 minutes.
  • Do call 911 or VHF Channel 16 to report and emergency.
  • Do share with someone you trust all the details of your trip before you leave shore - including boat, persons, towing or trailer vehicle, communication equipment, and emergency contacts. This is your float plan.
  • Do dress properly for the weather, always wear layers, and bring an extra set of clothes in case you get wet. Remember, dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature.
  • Do use your navigation lights to alert other boaters of your presence in dark and/or foggy conditions. Recreational boats operating at night are required to display navigation lights between sunset and sunrise.
  • Do catch your breath. A sudden, unexpected fall into cold water causes an involuntary gasp (or torso) reflex. It takes less than one-half cup of water in your lungs to drown. If you remain calm, you have a greater chance of self-rescue.
  • Don’t panic if you fall into the water. Stay afloat with the help of your life jacket, regain control of your breathing, and keep your head above water in vision of rescuers.
  • Don’t keep heavy boots on if you’re in the water. Look for ways to increase your buoyancy. If you’re in the water with others, huddle together with everyone facing inward to help everyone stay afloat and keep warm.
  • Don’t apply heat to extremities like arms and legs of a rescued victim. This sudden change in temperature could cause cardiac arrest.  
Stages of Cold-Water Immersion
  • Cold shock. You have one minute to adjust to the cold shock response – don’t panic.
  • Swimming failure. You have 10 minutes of meaningful movement to get help and get out of the water.
  • Hypothermia. You have about one hour before you become unconscious from hypothermia.
  • Post-rescue collapse. You “give up” and collapse after or right at the time of rescue.

For more information, tips and resources, visit the
U.S. Coast Guard’s website:, or the
National Safe Boating Council’s website:

WHEN TO CALL 9-1-12022-11-30 - When to Call 911 - Red Outline

About the Director of Public Safety

The Director of Public Safety, Health and Welfare is the head of the Office of Public Safety, Health and Welfare and responsible for the administration, supervision and performance of all municipal functions related to police, fire, health, social services, rescue, emergency medical service and emergency management and, unless otherwise provided by state or federal law, is responsible for the oversight of all municipal functions related to the abatement and management of environmental contamination. In doing so, the Director of Public Safety, Health and Welfare is responsible for the supervision of the activities of the Chief of Police and the Fire Chief, and, unless otherwise prohibited by state law, is responsible for the functions of the Fire Department and the Office of Emergency Management. The Director of Public Safety, Health and Welfare, to the extent permitted by state law, also be responsible for the supervision of the activities of the Health Director.

Department Staff

DeRubeis, LouDirector of Public Safety, Health and WelfareCamera Review Committee, Public Safety Health & Welfare(203) 977-4151
Lagoe, FrankPublic Safety Statistician Public Safety Health & Welfare(203) 977-5325
Miller, RonaldCitation OfficerPublic Safety Health & Welfare(203) 977-5069
Pinto, JenniferChief Enforcement OfficerHealth, Public Safety Health & Welfare(203) 977-5069
Ruther, KathyAdministrative OfficerPublic Safety Health & Welfare(203) 977-5089

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