The U.S. Coast Guard is warning boaters that despite the near-record high temperatures forecast for this weekend, water temperatures are "dangerously" low.
"Recreation on Great Lakes waterways never really ceases, with popular cold water and ice activities prevalent throughout the region," said Capt. Steve Torpey, chief of response for the 9th Coast Guard District, in a release. "But, we're expecting to start seeing a lot more people on the water as temperatures continue to rise."
The Coast Guard responded to four calls in the eastern Great Lakes region this past week, and warned that in only 10 minutes, a person in cold water could lose use of their fingers, arms and legs.
If boaters head out on the water this weekend, the Coast Guard recommends:
- Wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
- Check and monitor the marine weather forecast before any trip out onto the lakes.
- Notify family and friends where you are going and when you expect to be back—and stick to the plan. Be sure to notify them when plans change.
- Never venture out alone.
- Carry all required and recommended safety gear, including visual distress signals, sound producing device, registered personal locator beacon and in a VHF-FM marine radio.
- Boat sober.
When are you planning on launching your boat? Let us know in the comments section.