Sailing on Lake Champlain

MONTPELIER — In the wake of two deaths on Lake Champlain this past week, Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling took time on Wednesday to remind people of the importance of swimming and boating safely.

The first step in being safe is knowledge, he said, advising people to “know your ability.”

Boaters and swimmers should also know the water temperature, as Lake Champlain remains fairly cold, he said.

Check the weather before departing, Schirling advised. “Weather changes pretty quickly,” he said, particularly on hot days when thunderstorms can come up quickly.

“Don’t swim alone,” Schirling said, and remember that “on the water distance is deceiving.” Places will often appear closer than they are.

File a boating plan so others know where you are and when you’ll return, Schirling said, adding this is especially important for small craft.

Personal flotation devices are required for children under the age of 12 who are out on a boat. The boat should also have at least one flotation device that can be tossed to someone in the water, according to Schirling.

“Keep in mind that alcohol and swimming or boating often do not mix,” Schirling said at the conclusion of his remarks, which were delivered as part of Governor Phil Scott’s Wednesday press conference.

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