DEEP: Connecticut’s Waterways Present Dangerous Challenges for Boating

September 2, 2011
Connecticut’s Waterways Present Dangerous Challenges for Boating
Three Boat Launches Closed due to High Water or Storm Damage

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today cautioned boaters – especially those using paddlecraft such as canoes or kayaks – that conditions on Long Island Sound and the state’s rivers and streams, in particular the Housatonic, Connecticut and Farmington Rivers, present significant dangerous challenges.

Due to the rainfall from Irene, both here in Connecticut and in northern New England, boaters are likely to encounter fast flowing waters, high water levels, debris and bacteria in the water stemming from sewage overflows. DEEP also cautioned coastal boaters that debris, including large trees, is making its way into the Sound. In addition, navigation aids and regulatory markers may be out of place making navigation difficult.

DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty said, "Connecticut has already experienced one canoe related death and residents and visitors alike must heed the message that Connecticut’s waterways - for a variety of reasons - present increased dangers at this time. Throughout the week we have fielded repeated calls involving boaters, in particular canoeists and kayakers, who have put themselves and emergency responders in danger by trying to navigate these swift moving waters."

With the holiday weekend approaching, Connecticut’s rivers and waterways are returning to normal from flood stage, but DEEP cautions that this will take time.

The Connecticut River is at the highest flood stage that it has been in many years and other rivers are also at or above typical spring flood stages. Large volumes of water are traveling at high rates of speed towards Long Island Sound and transporting large amounts of debris. High flows can make steering a boat very difficult, especially if boats are underpowered or hand paddled and a small problem or error in judgment can have tragic consequences. For conditions in Middletown along the Connecticut River, follow this link:

In addition, DEEP announced three boat launches are closed due to high water or storm damage. The launches are Haddam Meadows, Haddam; Salmon River, East Haddam and Bissell Bridge, Windsor.