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Big Spoon

Cold Weather PFD Laws in Effect Nov 1

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All, please remember to abide by the cold weather PFD laws effective now until May 1.

 

"Anyone underway in a boat less than 21 feet in length anytime between   November 1 and May 1 must wear a securely fastened life jacket.  This includes canoes, kayaks, rowboats and motorboats  Commercial vessels are exempt. NYS Nav. Law Section 40.1(e)."

 

https://parks.ny.gov/recreation/boating/documents/PFDLawsofNewYork.pdf

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What does under way mean? If I am fishing using the trolling motor to hold my position is that underway? If I am anchored is it ok to not have one on. That law makes no sense.

Sent from my Moto Z (2) using Lake Ontario United mobile app

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Hi Bluegiller,

 

The USCG defines "underway" as follows: Any vessel is not at anchor, or made fast to the shore, or aground.  

 

Rules are rules, don't want to see any one get a ticket, or worse.

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Here’s what I know. Two different interpretations out there used by different law enforcement agencies. (1) One is when you leave the dock, your considered underway. Whether your anchored, trolling, drifting etc, your still underway and required to utilize the pfd per regs. Probably the most safest way to look at it. (2) when your underway from being anchored or untied from dock your required to don pfds. I’ve seen both definitions communicated. I’d probably stay safe and stick with #1.


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Here is what I know. Whether you are anchored or moving, if you fall in freezing cold water, your life jacket may very well save your life. The semantics are not important, your life is.

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This act saves search agencies a lot of time and effort searching for reported missing boaters. Mainly it saves your family time to recover death benefits since life insurance and Social Security payments are held up till death certificates are issued. In warm summer waters a body may float up in 24 hours but in winter conditions it may take 3 months to float up in the water. This puts families in financial distress. As a former Coast Guard responder I spent a lot of miserable weather in a small boat searching for missing Boaters.


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Some good comments and advice here. As much as I detest the "Big Brother" aspects of some regulations and laws; this is not one of them. As someone that has been through the ice twice (only once with float suit) I have a strong appreciation for the fact that hypothermia can set in a lot sooner than you often see in published material. One of the first things that happens is that you quickly become numb and lose the full use of your limbs so even if a strong swimmer in warmer water it becomes quickly irrelevant in the cold water. I guess the key is to wear something that is comfortable and doesn't significantly impede movement so that it isn't a pain in the butt to wear. As for the regulation itself it is just a common sense adjustment to potentially dangerous conditions and a good safety measure so resenting it doesn't really make a whole lot of sense.

Edited by Sk8man

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There are many choices for light weight auto inflating life jackets. My 70 year old fishing buddy and I wear them all the time.  

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I'm surprised Governor Cuomo doesn't make it year round and no matter what size vessel . Like the helmet law for motorcycles and have to turn headlights on when it's raining. after all we're not smart enough to know what's good and bad for us

 

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