Maine Warden Lt. Dan Scott wants folks to take extra care this spring to avoid dangerous situations.
"The extreme cold temperatures of the water this year make it so that people who may ordinarily be able to swim well or rescue themselves find themselves in a real predicament if they go overboard. It can often make it difficult to even think straight, rather than even get to shore."
With air temps in the 50s, people naturally will bundle up instead of wearing a swim suit, which can weigh them down in the water. And it's not only boating and fishing on open water that can be dangerous because while lakes may be calm, streams are at their highest in springtime as the snow melts, and all it takes is one misstep to take an unwanted ride in frigid water.
"The water temperatures are generally around 40-45 degrees, and that exacerbates self-rescue," added Lt. Scott. "and the best way to ensure you get to shore safely is with a personal flotation device."
A life jacket is the first line of defense, but something as simple as leaving a note in a car windshield can help authorities if things go badly.
"Very often we'll come upon vehicles that are out overnight or in locations for a long period of time," said Lt. Scott. "We don't know if that's part of your plan."
For more information on how to stay safe in the water, visit www.Maine.gov/ifw.