BOAT SAFETY: Prepare for sudden weather switch - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

BOAT SAFETY: Prepare for sudden weather switch

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Sunday's sudden, severe wind gusts caught a lot of people off guard, especially those who were out on the water. Now, water specialists are sharing tips to help boaters weather surprising squalls safely.

FOX 9's Scott Wasserman went out on the water to learn some life-saving tips from Adam Block, a conservation officer and water specialist with the Department of Natural Resources who has been working water patrol for eight years.

Block says the first step to staying safe involves getting to shore -- even if that means bailing on the boat completely.

For those who simply can't get to land in time, Block recommends heading to the shallowest part of the water while trying to steer clear of flying debris. He also warns against putting up a top to try to keep out any rain because the wind can catch the tarp and blow a bloat over.

For those who are in smaller vessels, like a canoe or paddle boat, Block urges anyone who gets bucked into the water to hang on.

"Don't leave your watercraft if you become tipped over," he said. "You want to hang onto that thing because it's got buoyancy."

Several boaters at Hyland Lake Park were faced with that situation on Sunday. A few people made it to an island and waited for help.

Life jackets are always a lifeline if worse comes to worst out on the water, especially when the temperature is cold. Adding extra insulation with a life jacket can keep shock and hypothermia at bay a little while longer while making it more difficult to drown.

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