U.S. Coast Guard warns boaters to be prepared before going out on the lake in the spring

CLEVELAND - It’s the time of year when the air can make it feel like summer and Lake Erie can seem calm and enticing, but while the waters of the lake may look summer like in Cleveland, satellite photos taken this week show its still ice covered up by New York.

"The water temperature is still only 40 degrees out there,” said U.S. Coast Guard BM3 Matt Whalen. “In this weather once you fall in the water you've got about 30 minutes until you actually almost lose consciousness in the water from the hypothermia."

That’s why most recreational boaters are waiting until closer til Memorial Day to put their boats in the water. "Right now you've got just the avid fisherman and everybody that are out there,” Whalen said.

If you’re tempted to go out he says remember while it was near 70 on Thursday it was snowing on Tuesday. "Just know that Lake Erie can change in a matter of minutes with the winds that kick up."

The Coast Guard urges boaters to look over their gear make sure they have all the safety equipment required and that there communication gear is working. “Do a quick radio check with your radios on channel 0-9 and make sure that's working properly so if something happens you can call us on the radio for help."

Also prepare for the worst by dressing for the water not the weather.

“Even though you might be a little bit warmer it’s better to be on the side of caution than to stay comfortable,” said Whalen.

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