Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Portland, ME

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NOUS41 KGYX 232151
PNSGYX

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT...NATIONAL SAFE BOATING WEEK
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAY ME
551 PM EDT TUE MAY 23 2017

...THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IS OBSERVING MAY 20th
THROUGH MAY 26th AS NATIONAL SAFE BOATING WEEK...

After a long and snow-filled winter, as well as the very chilly
conditions in early May, warmer weather has finally returned to
Northern New England.  However, despite the milder days, boaters
need to be aware that water temperatures remain very cold. That`s
why the National Weather Service offices in Gray and Caribou are
partnering with the United States Coast Guard Sector Northern New
England to remind people of the dangers of cold water boating.  As
part of this effort, during days when dangerous situation are
present, the National Weather Service will issue Beach Hazard
Statements to alert the public to the dangers of cold water.

Many areas along the coast are currently reporting water
temperatures only in the upper 40s to lower 50s.  According to the
United States Coast Guard, when the water temperatures is below 60
degrees, the average person immersed in the water can lose dexterity
within minutes and be unable to accomplish certain tasks like
buckling a lifejacket or operating a radio.  If water temperatures
are below 50 degrees, the chance of immediate incapacitation and
drowning due to cold water shock is extremely high, and the chances
of survival are severely diminished even with thermal protection.
Safety information for cold water conditions can be found at the
Coast Guard website http://www.uscgboating.org

Changeable weather conditions place very small boats such as
paddlecraft particularly at risk as the threat of the craft
tipping over and immersion in cold water can easily occur. The
collaborative effort between the Coast Guard and National Weather
Service will identify days when paddlecraft are more likely to
venture out and be exposed to cold water hazards. Conditions that
increase the likelihood of paddlecraft recreating along coastal
Maine and New Hampshire often occur in the spring and early summer
when air temperatures are mild, but water temperatures are still
dangerously cold. These are often during sunny, light wind
conditions, with little in way of wave action, especially in the
morning. Paddlecraft may then be exposed to abrupt weather changes
such as gusty afternoon sea breezes which build choppy waves,
potentially tipping over the the boats.

For weekend days or holidays when numerous boaters are expected on
the water and the National Weather Service and United States Coast
Guard determine that hazardous or changeable weather conditions will
lead to an increased risk of cold water drowning, the National
Weather Service will issue a Beach Hazards Statement for
paddlecraft. Anyone venturing out onto the waters in paddle craft
should be particularly alert to the threats of capsizing and cold
water immersion.  The forecast risk area will be graphically
displayed at http://www.weather.gov/gyx/recreation

$$
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