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Maine Warden Service urges all boaters to stay safe and practice appropriate social distancing

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AUGUSTA – Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of the boating season in Maine for many, and the Maine Warden Service is urging all boaters to wear your life jacket, boat safely and maintain proper social distancing while out on the water.

 

“Many people like to enjoy Memorial Day Weekend out on Maine’s waters,” said Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service, “While out boating, please wear your lifejacket as water temperatures remain very cold this time of year, and practice safe social distancing.”

 

Before heading out on the water this year, please make sure that:

 

  • You have the proper safety equipment, including personal floatation devices for everyone on board.
  • That your motorized boat is registered and displays a lake and river protection sticker.
  • You are familiar with the proper operation of the boat.
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Do not drink and drive.

 

Each year, approximately half of Maine’s boating deaths involve non-motorized watercraft such as canoes and kayaks with the paddler not wearing a personal floatation device (also known as a PFD or life jacket). Even the strongest swimmers lose the ability to stay afloat when immersed in cold water for a period of time.

 

Also, it is important to follow these guidelines in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while out boating.

 

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others on the water, on the boat, and on land.
  • No recreational boat should have a group of more than 10 people on board.
  • Don’t share equipment.
  • Avoid using boat ramps and docks while other people are on them.
  • When launching and loading your boat, give people ahead of you plenty of time and space to finish launching or loading before you approach.
  • After fueling, wash your hands with soap and water or, if soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Sanitize equipment with EPA registered products  after each trip paying particular attention to high-touch surfaces (handholds & grab bars, rails, hatch latches & lids, and coolers).

 

If you are planning to take part in a guided boat or fishing trip, COVID-19 prevention guidance for those businesses, in the form of checklists, can be found at maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/attach.php?id=2570133&an=1 . More information on Maine’s COVID-19 response can be found at maine.gov/covid19/

 

For more information on recreational boating safety, visit the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website at mefishwildife.com.

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