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Stormy Weather: Boating Death Brings State Cold Water Warning

Whitecaps crashed on the shore at Stratford Point Friday.
Whitecaps crashed on the shore at Stratford Point Friday. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

STRATFORD, Conn. — After a man died tragically last week falling from a boat into the frigid waters of Long Island Sound, state officials are reminding residents of the real dangers of cold water boating.

The state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) issued a reminder that that, though air temperature is rising, water temperatures in Long Island Sound are still in the mid- to upper-40s.

“With the trout season now underway, boaters and anglers are taking to the water for some fun,” said DEEP Boating Division Director Eleanor Mariani. “Recent heavy rains and snow melt have caused flood conditions, and local waters may be running faster than anticipated.

“At this time of year, it is more important than ever to take proper safety precautions to minimize the chances of going into the water accidentally and to be prepared for immersion if you do.”

In the past 10 years, capsizing and falling overboard have been responsible for the majority of boating fatalities in Connecticut. Sudden immersion in cold water can lead to cold water shock and death within minutes.

Last week, the Coast Guard found Richard Melucci, 43, of New York, about 55 minutes after he fell into the water near Charles Island in Milford. He was taken to Milford Hospital, but died.

Related story: Boater dies after falling overboard into Long Island Sound

DEEP recommends anyone on the water wear a life jacket — preferably with a whistle attached — and dress in layers that will retain body heat. Enjoy the day with a friend or, at least, tell someone where you plan to be on the water.

Place your cell phone in a waterproof bag and be sure your boat plug is secure.

For more tips, visit the website .

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