FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Warmer weather has already started bringing boaters out to Fairfield’s waters. Local experts suggest taking safety precautions before heading out onto Long Island Sound and beyond.
Robert Daraio, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary who has participated in search and rescue missions on the Hudson, Long Island Sound and New York Harbor, offers the basics for boat safety.
Daraio suggest that boaters "always wear a lifejacket, don't drink alcohol while boating, take a boating safety course, get a free vessel safety check from the Coast Guard Auxiliary to make sure you have the proper safety gear and file a Float Plan for every trip."
Both New York State and the State of Connecticut recommend boaters take certified safety courses. Safe Boating America's website is a prime source for boating safety, education, certification and Captain's licensing in New York and Connecticut .
In Fairfield, certified Powerboating Instructor Jay Lipp offers courses for boaters age 10 and older at the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary post near the South Benson Marina. Driver’s Education and Advanced Powerboating classes are scheduled throughout May.
Lipp also teaches the Fairfield Sailing School, which offers individual and small-group sailing classes out of the Coast Guard Auxiliary on weekends. More information is available through the Parks and Recreation website.
Connecticut boaters are required to register all boats with a motor, boats that are 19 feet, 6 inches or longer and personal watercraft, including jet skis, with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Fairfield boaters will also need a ramp pass to access the ramp near Fairfield’s two town-run marinas. Ramp tags are $50 through the Parks and Recreation Department and include a beach sticker for the towing car.
The Fairfield Police Marine Unit will also begin its regular patrols on the water soon. Based out of a substation at the marina, the four-officer unit has three vessels and is available for rescue missions or other services 24 hours a day. You can reach them through the main police line at 2013-254-4800.
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