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New York law on PFDs goes into effect

Effective Nov. 1 and running through May 1, 2011 New York State law requires that anyone on a boat less than 21 feet (including kayaks, canoes and other paddle boats) must wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device while on all state waters including coastal waters, lakes, rivers and other waterways.

Violators face a fine of between $250 and $1,000.

Anyone under the age of 12 is required to wear a Coast Guard-approved PFD on any vessel less than 65 feet at all times during the year.

The number of drowning victims increases significantly as the water and air temperature becomes colder. Cold-water immersion can cause a shock induced gasping that causes cold water to enter the lungs causing panic and drowning. Also as the body's core temperature lowers the person loses control over their extremities as the arms, legs and hands become numb and useless. Cold water immersion in water below 40 degrees Fahrenheit can lead to unconsciousness within 15 minutes.