Emily Fedorko funeral set for Monday, police offer boating and tubing safety tips

As 16-year-old Greenwich resident Emily Fedorko’s life will be remembered at a Monday funeral, the Greenwich Police Department has offered safe boating tips to try and avoid future tragedies.

Emily was killed on Wednesday when she and a friend who had been inner tubing in Long Island Sound were struck by the boat they had been attached to. The Greenwich Police Department’s Marine Section is working with the state’s Environmental Conservation Police (ENCON) on the investigation into what happened. The initial assessment is that Emily and her friend fell off the inner tube and when the boat turned around to retrieve them from the water they were struck. A full accident reconstruction is being done as part of the ongoing investigation.

The Fedorko family is receiving relatives and friends today, Aug. 10, from 2  to 6 p.m. at the Bosak Funeral Home at 453 Shippan Avenue in Stamford.. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held tomorrow, Monday, Aug. 11, at 11 a.m. at St. Clement Church at  535 Fairfield Avenue in Stamford. Interment will follow at the Putnam Cemetery in Greenwich.

The family said that donations can be made in Emily’s memory to the  Emily Catherine Fedorko Foundation at PO Box 72, Cos Cob, CT 06807. An online guestbook for people seeking to leave well wishes and sympathy for the family has been set up Bosakfuneralhome.com.

Since Greenwich is a boating community, police said that it is important to remember vital safety tips while in the water. This week the GPD issued a press release urging Greenwich residents to be alert, be careful and be prepared.

Boating Laws and Safety Tips for Water-Skiing & Safe Boating

“An accident can happen very quickly and the U.S. Coast Guard reminds us that, ‘Each year hundreds of lives are lost, thousands are injured and millions of dollars of property damage occurs because of preventable recreational boating accidents on U.S. waterways,’” the release stared. “‘Too often pleasure outings turn tragic. You, as a boat operator, passenger, or concerned individual, can make a difference.’”

Water-skiing within the Connecticut waters of the Long Island Sound includes the towing of any person behind a vessel under power, including personal watercrafts, such as water-skiing, tubing, wakeboarding, wakesurfing and more. That includes what Emily and her friends were doing at the time of the accident. In Connecticut, water-skiers are required by law to wear a USCG approved personal flotation device at all times regardless of age.

The operator of the boat is required to have a responsible observer at least 12-years-old facing the skier to assist the operator and monitor the progress of the water-skier. The operator of the vessel and the water-skier are responsible for operating in a manner which does not harm or strike another person or vessel. Water-skiing is forbidden between a half hour after sunset until sunrise or when visibility is restricted to less than 100 yards.

According to the police department there has been no indication of any drugs or alcohol in this incident. The 16-year-old driver of the boat was fully certified as she had received a Safe Boating Certificate from the state.

Tubing Safety Tips

The GPD also issued several tips for people tubing in Long Island Sound.

Remember that tube riders do not have the directional control that water-skiers have. Take these special precautions to ensure a fun and safe time:

• Riders are required to wear a USCG approved life jacket at all times, regardless of age.

• Follow manufactures recommendations regarding capacity, weight restrictions, number of riders, age limits and

maximum towing speeds.

• Securely fasten the line. Use heavy duty line designed for towing tubes. Check its condition often.

• Turn off the engine and count to 10 before allowing a person into the water. Remember the propeller continues to

spin when the engine is off.

• Learn to balance the weight on the tube. Properly position tubers based on tubes characteristics.

• Ensure a responsible spotter of at least 12 years of age. Make sure the tuber and the spotter understand and

communicate hand signals. Always listen to the tuber. Use the spotter. The operator of the vessel should not be watching the tuber.

• Know the area you will be tubing in ahead of time. Maintain a safe distance between the tube, other boaters, piers, docks, etc.

• Use caution when making turns. Tube speed increases during a turn. Riders can fall off or be thrown. Never have the tuber on the inside of a turn. Plan ahead of the turn to make sure the tube will have enough room to pass safely.

• Slow the boat when needed. Especially when crossing wakes to avoid back and other injuries.

• Approach a rider in the water with caution. Always approach on the operator’s side of the vessel into the

wind/current. Then turn the engine off.

• Never back up to a person or allow them to use the propeller to re-enter the vessel.

• Make sure the vessel operator, spotter and tubers are alert and sober at all times.

• Securely stow all gear and tube. Never coil the line for the tube while the boat is in gear and the tube is in the water as it may become tangled in the propeller and cause injury.

General Safe Boating Checklist

The GPD said that, prior to starting any boat voyage, a boater should ensure they have completed the following checklist:

• At least one life jacket for every person onboard and assign each person that life jacket which is fitted to them prior to leaving the dock.

• Approved USCG Safety Equipment based on length and type of vessel.

• Approved fuel tanks.

• Fully charged battery

• Operational lights and horn

• All gear stowed properly

• Knowledge of the weather and water conditions

• Make sure vessel registration is current

• Have a Safe Boating Certificate on the vessel at all times while operating.

• Know your location at all times, and have a well-stocked first aid kit onboard

• Review location of all safety equipment with all passengers onboard

Two websites to understand that show best practices and the law as it apply to boating safety are located at: Ct.gov/deep and Uscgboating.org.

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