SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Boaters, beware.
If you plan on enjoying fall foliage from the water, you’ll need to know about a regulation that went into effect Thursday.
These two friends are getting ready to go fishing on the Delaware River. They’ll get to enjoy the colorful scenery, too.
“Fall is a good time, but the weather and the river has not really cooperated too well with us,” says John Zateeny of Stroudsburg.
Don’t let the seemingly peaceful river fool you; they say it’s running high and moving fast.
“Very deceiving, yeah. This river is very dangerous because there’s holes in the river,” explains John James of Tannersville.
From now through April 30th, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is requiring boaters to wear life jackets on all state waterways. This applies to boats less than 16 feet long, plus all canoes and kayaks.
“This regulation came into affect several years ago, due to a disproportionate number of fatalities during the cold weather months,” says Ryan Walt, Boating and Watercraft Safety Manager.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission says nearly 80-percent of all boating deaths in the state happen when life jackets aren’t used.
Walt adds, “over the last several years, we’ve actually seen a decrease in fatalities during these cold weather months because of the mandatory life jacket regulation.”
Officials say there aren’t as many boaters on the water this time of the year, but fatalities are more likely because of the water temperatures.
“Any water temperature less than 70-degrees Fahrenheit is considered cold water,” Walt says.