Recreational boating is a an enjoyable passtime for many Norwalk residents, but it can be just as dangerous as driving if a boater is not aware of safety precautions.
Mayor Harry Rilling joined the Norwalk Sail and Power Squadron and The Norwalk Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 72 at the visitor's dock in Veterans Park to proclaim May 17th through the 23rd as National Safe Boating week.
"I'm a boater," said Rilling. "I have a boat over at the South Norwalk Boat Club. I'm out on the water all the time and I see things that are kind of scary. People going to fast, people going to close to other boats, not knowing the waters is very dangerous because you hit a submerged hazard that you don't see."
"Know the weather," said Peter LaPak Norwalk Police Marine Division Sargent. "Know the area that you're going boating to, have a chart or chart plotter or at least have some sort of reference you can check."
The Norwalk Police, Fire Marine divisions, the Harbor Master, and members of the Norwalk Sea Scouts Ship 6 crew also joined Rilling in the city's proclamation.
"I think the emphasis this year would be on kayaking and standup boating," said Fred Zinsser, ABC Instructor for the Norwalk Sail and Power Squadron. "The new rule this year requires people on stand up paddle boards to wear a life jacket."
On average 700 people die each year in boating related accidents. Seventy-one percent of fatalities are caused by drowning due to human error, rather than equipment and environmental factors.
"The real thing that really troubles me is people who are out on the water and they drink to excess and then they try to operate and navigate their boat," said Rilling.
Fortunately officials say boating accidents in Norwalk have declined throughout the years.
"Accidents are on the decline at Norwalk harbor because people are taking advantage of these classes that we offer."
For information on local boating classes and safety tips visit