Public Information Statement
Issued by NWS Portland, ME

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036 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 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 $$ NNNN is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.