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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — The Coast Guard and state officials in Connecticut and New York are urging boaters to winterize their vessels within the next few weeks to guard against hazards from cold weather conditions and storms.

Authorities say people who plan to take their boats out of the water should remove all water from the bilges, remove batteries and store them in a dry, heated place and secure all loose gear.

Boaters planning to leave their vessels in the water should check them at least once a week and after snow storms, keep the batteries charged, confirm bilge pumps are working and double up mooring lines.

Mariners also should consider covering their boats to help keep snow and ice off, or at least remove heavy snow and ice buildup after storms.