Continuing Education in Boating & Water Safety


  • Tuesday, April 12, 2016 12:09 PM | Anonymous

    NORWALK -- Sixty percent of boaters who drowned in 2007 did so in waters below 50 degrees in temperature, according to the United States Coast Guard.

    The majority drowned after experiencing shock from cold-water immersion rather than succumbing to hypothermia.

    "If you think that you can swim to shore, you may be surprised as to how far you cannot swim," said Capt. Jon Maggio, commander of the Norwalk Fire Department (NFD) Marine Unit. "Below 50-degree water, statistics pretty much double. Forty-three percent of people died less than six feet from safety."

    Nearly 40 local fishermen, rowers and other boaters attended the instructional seminar arranged by Michael Griffin, state of Connecticut harbormaster for Norwalk, at the Norwalk Fire Department headquarters on Connecticut Avenue on Wednesday evening.

    "Cold Water Boot Camp," a 30-minute video produced by the National Water Safety Congress with funding from the Coast Guard, was the centerpiece of the event.

    After falling into cold waters, swimmers have about one minute to recover from the initial shock and get their breathing under control, according to video narrator Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht of the University of Manitoba.

    Those who manage to do so have about 10 minutes of "meaningful movement" before they are no longer able to swim. Hypothermia sets in only after 30 minutes to two hours in the water, according to Giesbrecht.

    In the video, Coast Guard volunteers tested their abilities to withstand the effects of cold water and found themselves surprised.

    "I got about three-fourths of the way (to shore) and I started getting winded," one swimmer said afterward. "I swallowed some water and couldn't get my breath. Without the rescuer, I would have drowned."

    Of the half-dozen volunteers who jumped off the Coast Guard vessel into the water, only one made it to the nearby shoreline without the aid of a rescue swimmer.

    Maggio advises local rowers and other boaters to always wear life jackets and stick close to their vessels if they fall overboard. Hanging onto a capsized boat allows one to keep his or her torso out of the frigid waters. A vessel also makes a visible target for rescuers.

    Griffin and Maggio plan to hold the seminar each year to teach boaters about boating and safety in cold waters.

    While air temperatures may rise into the 70s during the springtime, water temperatures lag significantly behind. On Wednesday, they were 42 degrees in Norwalk.

    "The goal is really to impress upon (boaters) the seriousness of using Norwalk Harbor during a period of low water temperatures that would have a serious potential for complicating an already threatening man-overboard situation," Griffin said.

  • Monday, April 04, 2016 5:07 PM | Anonymous

    NEWS RELEASE (04/04/16)
    For immediate release                                                       For more information
    Call NWSC Headquarters 

    Brown elected president of national
    boating and water safety organization

    SAN DIEGO (April 4, 2016)– During its 65th annual meeting, held in San Diego, Calif., the National Water Safety Congress (NWSC) elected Lt. Mark Brown, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Marine Enforcement Section, as president of the nonprofit organization for the 2016-17 term. He succeeds Brian C. Westfall, CHI, natural resources specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Ouachita Project Management Office.

    Lt. Mark Brown began serving the citizens of Oklahoma on July 7, 1986, as a state trooper assigned to the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety Lake Patrol Division. His first assignment was as a marine patrol officer on the 10,100-acre Waurika Lake located in southwestern Oklahoma. Since 1998, Lt. Brown has served as a subject matter expert for Oklahoma boating laws, special rules and regulations. He has helped draft bills implementing changes in Oklahoma’s boating laws, most notably, the Kyle Williams Boating Education Act. Enacted by the Oklahoma Legislature in 2006, this act requires mandatory boater education for the youth of Oklahoma.

    Lieutenant Brown has been an active member of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) Education & Outreach Committee and served as the committee chair. In December 2013, Brown was promoted to lieutenant and named Oklahoma’s boating law administrator. He is a member of NASBLA’s Recreational Boating Safety Professional Certification Commission. In 2014, he was named to the NASBLA Executive Board as a Member-At-Large.

    Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Oklahoma State University. He has received the NASBLA Boating Safety Award, Southern States Boating Law Administrators Association Officer of the Year Award, Oklahoma Troop Commanders Award, and Severe Weather Response and Murrah Bombing ribbons.

    Prior to being elected president, Brown served as vice president, treasurer and awards chair of the National Water Safety Congress.

    Other officers of the association serving with Lt. Brown include:

    ·      Vice President – Keith Christopher, Sea Scouts BSA

    ·      Treasurer – Alan Bland, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    ·      Secretary – Amy Shultz, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    ·      Past President – Brian Westfall, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

    ·      Member-at-Large  – Zac Campbell, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources

    ·      Member-at-Large  – Ron Sarver, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators

    About NWSC

    The National Water Safety Congress (NWSC) is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting recreational water and boating safety. Organized in 1951 the NWSC was one of the first water safety organizations, and today is noted for its International Boating and Water Safety Summit and Cold Water Boot Camp USA. To learn more about how NWSC works to increase water safety, visit


    A high-resolution photo of Mark Brown is available for download at:

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