News Releases

April 27, 2009

Cold Water Awareness Day – April 24th

The National Weather Service, US Coast Guard, and Vermont Emergency Management are urging extreme caution when boating, canoeing, or kayaking during this and every spring in Vermont and New York.

Spring fever hits hard in the North Country after the long winter and most of us are eager to get outside. But when hitting rivers, ponds, or lakes on a warm day, recreationists need to be mindful that water temperatures remain dangerously cold and will be for several weeks and make capsizing more treacherous.

Rivers are often still affected by runoff from melting snow from mountain summits. That water flows into area lakes, keeping water temperatures dangerously cold. On Lake Champlain, climate records indicate that surface water temperatures are typically in the upper 30s in late April, and only rise into the 40s during May. Immersion in waters of those temperatures can lead to hypothermia in a matter of minutes.

To raise awareness, the NWS, Coast Guard, and VEM are recognizing April 24th as Cold Water Awareness Day. The goal is to remind those who hit the lakes and streams of Vermont and New York to remember these safety tips:

 Consider postponing small craft boating activities until water temperatures become warmer in late spring and summer.

 If you do choose to boat, canoe, or kayak in April or May, wear a dry suit appropriate for water temperatures in the high 30s and 40s.

 Wear all recommended protective gear to guard against the cold water in the event of an accident or capsize.

 Remember, no matter the season, when you are on the water, always wear your life jacket.

Safe boating is no accident! Please take the time to think safety first and plan appropriately for weather and water conditions before heading out on lakes, rivers, and streams.

For more information, you can visit the National Weather Service Cold Water Awareness web site, or follow the links from You can also contact the NWS directly at 802-862-8711; or the US Coast Guard in Burlington at 802-951-6760.

Source: Vermont Emergency Management
Last Updated at: April 27, 2009 09:29:57