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Practice safe boating this season

| May 21, 2020 1:00 AM

Volunteers of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, Coeur d’Alene Flotilla 84, have started a year-round effort to promote safe boating.

The Auxiliary wants to put a spotlight on recreational boating safety, a press release said.

“Members of Flotilla 84 want to ensure that recreational boaters have an enjoyable and safe time on the water this summer,” the release said. “However, as spring brings warmer weather, people get a false sense of security.”

Though it may feel like summer outside, it is only May, and as the mountain snows start to melt, it flows into lakes and rivers and keeps them very cold.

“The rivers are particularly dangerous this time of year with icy waters and fast-moving currents,” the release said. “It is crucial to wear a life jacket when near any body of water.”

A few things to remember:

• If you enter the water unexpectedly, an involuntary gasp takes your breath away and makes it hard to function.

• You have one minute to get your breathing under control before cold water shock occurs.

• It takes less than a half cup of water in your lungs to drown.

• You generally have a maximum of about 10 minutes in the frigid water to self-rescue before muscles stop working and treading water becomes impossible.

• Hypothermia sets in within the hour.

On March 10, the Auxiliary was told to stand down due to the COVID-19 pandemic and all activities remain suspended until further notice. These activities include vessel safety checks, public education classes, partner visits, public affairs events, and patrols.

To learn more about the local USCG Auxiliary, call 208-818-1546.