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Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Now in Mandatory Cold Water Life Jacket Wear

Beach Lake, PA – The National Park Service reminds everyone that may be out on the Upper Delaware River this fall or winter in a boat, canoe, or kayak that each person, regardless of age is required to wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (life jacket or PFD) during these cold weather months. This regulation is effective immediately through April 30, 2022.

This mandatory cold weather life jacket wear regulation was established in 2012 by Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission and can do a great deal to be effective in saving someone’s life during these cold-water boating months. Cold water shock is a major factor in boating fatalities when water temperatures are less than 70 degrees. It happens quickly when someone is suddenly immersed in cold water. The water does not have to be freezing; cold water shock often occurs in water temperatures above 50 degrees. Wearing a life jacket in these conditions greatly increases the chance of survival and will save lives. Those wearing a life jacket when exposed to cold water have potentially life-saving advantages such as insulation from the cold, buoyancy, and reduced risk of aspiration of water. Without wearing a life jacket, your chances of survival in a cold-water immersion are greatly decreased.

If you do plan to be out fishing, boating, duck hunting, or ice fishing on the Upper Delaware River between now and next April here are some cold-water survival safety tips: Always wear a life jacket, even when not required. Many models also offer insulation from cold air. Never boat alone. Leave a float plan and be familiar with the waters you plan to boat. Bring a fully charged cell phone with you in case of emergency. Wear clothing that still insulates when wet such as fleece, polypropylene, or other synthetic materials. If you are about to fall into cold water, cover your mouth and nose with your hands. This will reduce the likelihood of inhaling water. While in the water, do not remove your clothing in cold water. If you can’t get out of the water, get into the Heat Escape Lessening Posture (HELP). Once out of the water, get out of the wet clothes and warm up as soon as possible.

“Life jackets can save lives and are a vital part of water safety. Wearing a properly fitting life jacket is important while participating in cold water activities such as canoeing, kayaking, or fishing,” said Superintendent, Joe Salvatore. Since 1980, there have been 74 drownings on the Upper Delaware River however nobody has ever drowned wearing a properly fitted life jacket. No matter the season, safety on the water is everyone’s responsibility!


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