A bill pending in the New Jersey Assembly would require that from Nov. 1 to May 1 those on any boat 21 feet and under to wear a life jacket while aboard the boat, either under way, moored or at anchor.
The bill, A3098, sponsored by Assemblyman Samuel D. Thompson of (R-Middlesex), recognizes the increased danger of cold water and cites the fact that there would be fewer potential rescuers around during those months. The measure awaits action by the Law and Public Safety Committee. It follows a similar law in New York State.
As the temperature drops, many boaters put their vessels away until spring. But those who still venture out, hunters and anglers among them, must pay special attention to safety.
Wearing a life jacket is a must. If you fall in, lower temperatures impair your ability to swim. Hypothermia can kill, but many cold-water deaths are linked to drowning, according to a Coast Guard study. Victims can die from drowning before hypothermia gets a chance to kill them.