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Law requires life jackets for boaters

    TRI-COUNTY AREA—Authorities remind boaters that despite warm temperatures, a state law still requires people to wear life jackets while on the lake.
According to New York State Parks and Recreation, all people on any boat less than 21 feet long must wear a life jacket. The law is in effect from Nov. 1 to May 1. The law applies to all boats within the size limit, including motorboats, kayaks, and sailboats.
    Yates Sheriff Ron Spike explained the law was implemented because the cold waters can be dangerous when a person is not wearing a life jacket. He said that while the air temperatures have been warm, the lake is considerably colder.
    Schuyler Sheriff Bill Yessman added the temperatures in March have been upwards of 70 degrees, but the lake water temperature is still around 40 degrees. The state says a boater should dress for the water, not the air temperature, as a boater who capsizes or swamps in cold water can be in an immediate life threatening situation.
    Cold water immersion has four phases: upon immersion cold shock occurs which can include involuntary gasping, hyperventilation, panic, and possible cardiac arrest. Between three to 30 minutes later swimming failure may occur as muscles and nerves quickly cool and the victim loses motor control along with the ability to self rescue.
    Next, hypothermia, typically occurs after 30 minutes in the water which can then lead to unconsciousness and death. Last is post-immersion collapse. This can occur during or after rescue due to damage to lungs and heart as cold blood returns to the core area from the arms and legs.
    “Even the strongest swimmers can have their muscles flex up,” said Spike.




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