Storm could cause rough conditions for boaters, swimmers

(Photo: WPRI)

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Fourth of July weekend typically draws Southern New Englanders to the coast, but with severe weather heading our way, environmental officials are urging all boaters, swimmers, and spectators to take caution.

Even after Tropical Storm Arthur departs from the region, his effects are apt to linger in the form of high winds, high surf, and rip currents.

Lt. Steve Criscione with the Rhode Island Environmental Police said when heading into a significant weather event – it’s crucial to properly tie down your boat and ensure adequate clearance from other vessels.

“They should double line their boats or double line their moorings so their boats are secured and don’t break free,” he explained.

Lt. Criscione said it’s often non-traditional water crafts that he and his colleagues see in precarious positions after a storm.

“Sail boards, kite surfing, surfing, paddle boards – they get into distress in many instances,” he said.

Curiosity and wanting to experience nature’s true force can also be factors, even for those that are ashore.

“People want to go see the water, they want to see the waves, they want to see what the wrath of nature has,” Criscione said. “They’re on slippery rocks, and a wave can come and take them into the water.”

Criscione had one piece of advice that never loses its power – use common sense.

Having enough life jackets on board, along with flares and a horn of some kind, as well as complying with speed and wake restrictions are all required when out on the water, regardless of the weather.

Criscione said approximately 25 people require hospitalizations each year, a handful of which die as a result of water-based activities. Also, the property damage sustained is between $750,000 and $1 million annually.

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