SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As the temps continue to go up, water recreation is almost in full swing on the Connecticut River, and whether, its boating, kayaking, or swimming, local fire departments want you to practice water and boating safety.

People have already taken their boats out as we inch closer to the summer, and first responders want everyone to practice water safety, if your plans bring you out on open water. Natural bodies of water maybe more dangerous than how they appear, and that’s because of strong currents, as well as debris in the water, like tree limbs, that you could get stuck on.

Deputy Fire Chief Frank Matuszczak of Agawam Fire Department tells 22News, “Common mistakes, people underestimating the water, the Connecticut River, especially after heavy rain can have an extreme undertow, especially as it doesn’t look as obvious on top of the water, underneath the water could have very severe, turbulent flow.”

When it comes to boating safety and other water recreation:

  • Always let someone on shore know that you are going out on to the water
  • Make sure everyone participating is wearing a life jacket
  • Be familiar with the body of water you are going to, and if you are boating, always travel at a safe speed

Matuszczak adding that local fire departments are prepared around the year for water emergencies, “We are able to perform any type of water rescue that is necessary, a lot of our guys have taken water rescue courses, we have members here on the tactical water rescue team that have taken advanced water rescue courses, and we are very capable of what we need to do.”

Experts say that at this time of year, the Connecticut river is still cold, which can shock your system and impair your ability to react if you were to fall in, and no matter what form of water recreation you do, never be under the influence.

While its not quite time to open up your pool, local fire departments also urge to take the time now to talk with your kids about pool safety.