The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is urging state residents and visitors to make certain they take all necessary safety precautions while on the water this summer, including the use of personal flotation devices.

"In the past few weeks there have been several water-related accidents and fatalities in our state and we are all deeply saddenied by these incidents," said DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty. "While the investigations into these accidents have not yet determined the exact causes, it is imperative that everyone enjoying Connecticut's inland and shoreline waters make wise decisions while swimming and boating."

More Information

Fact box

Swimming and water-related activities are some of the most enjoyable ways for adults and children to spend time together and Connecticut is fortunate to have numerous areas in our state to enjoy being in and around water. DEEP offers the following information on ways residents and visitors can enjoy recreational water activities in the state:

Safe Swimming

Each year, millions of people enjoy swimming in our state without incident. Unfortunately, however, a number of swimming incidents occur every summer, and some of these result in drownings. Precautions all swimmers can take to avoid accidents include:

Learn to swim;

Know your abilities and always swim in designated swim areas;

Be aware of underwater hazards;

Adults monitor all children in your party;

Refrain from drinking alcohol while swimming.

DEEP believes many swimming incidents can be prevented if people have stronger swimming skills and greater awareness of sound water safety practices. Below are some organizations that offer swimming lessons:

Connecticut Recreation and Parks Association;

American Red Cross;

YMCA

Safe Boating.

DEEP encourages state residents and visitors to enjoy the outdoors while boating. Connecticut has many miles of navigable waters that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Unfortunately, as with swimming, each year Connecticut experiences several boating accidents, sometimes with fatalities. State statistics on boating accidents show:

Consuming alcohol increases the chance that a mishap will become a tragedy. In 2010, five out of the six boating fatalities in Connecticut involved the use of alcohol;

More than 75 percent of fatal accidents in the state happen when people fall out of their boat;

Simply wearing a life jacket will prevent the majority of these fatal accidents;

All children under the age of 13 are required to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket while in a boat that is underway;

About 50 percent of the injuries on Connecticut's waters are caused by errors in navigation;

Boaters need to know the rules of the road to prevent collisions and groundings;

DEEP encourages all boaters to take advanced boating classes that will increase their knowledge of navigational rules and practices.

For safe boating tips and further information on boating in Connecticut, visit the DEEP's website at http://www.ct.gov/dep/boating.