Athol Police encourage swimmers, boaters to wear life jackets

Cold water can affect the ability of swimmers and boaters to stay afloat

ATHOL, Mass. (WWLP) – The Athol Police Department is warning residents about the cold temperatures of lakes and rivers. The water could be especially cold Thursday night with temperatures in Greenfield expected to be in the lower 40s.

Athol Police say if you’re going to canoe or kayak, wear a life jacket. This sounds simple but according to Zoar Outdoor owner Bruce Lessels, wearing one is the best way to ensure your safety out on the water.

“A lot of people bring it with them and don’t put it on,” Lessels told 22News. “That doesn’t do you any good if you fall out of the boat or if the boat flips over. So it’s super important to have the life jacket on. A strong swimmer in cold water is not necessarily a strong swimmer anymore.”

Lessels said that all life jackets are approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. They are labeled with the conditions they can be used for and the weight range they can hold. He added that there are life jackets for many different water activities…including white water rafting, canoeing, and kayaking.

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