Friday, 11 August 2017 08:08

Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department says boating fatalities spike this year Featured

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STATEWIDE - Already this year more people have died in boating accidents than all of last year.

Game wardens said it's likely many of those deaths could have been prevented if people were wearing life jackets.


According to statistics provided by the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, so far this year 11 people have died in 28 recreational boating accidents. Of the eleven people only two were wearing life jackets.


Only children, people on jet skis, and anyone being towed by a boat are legally required to wear a life jacket.


Maine's game wardens regularly conduct safety inspections on lakes across the state.


Warden Shannon Fish stated "I ask them, 'why is it you make your children wear a life jacket?' And ultimately, it comes down to, well, I don't want to feel bad. And I say to them, how do you think your kids are going to feel if you get hurt or worse, you die?"


People give wardens all kind of excuses for not wearing life jackets.


And then there are people who will wear the life preserver sometimes.


One boater Bronwen Pierson said "I don't wear a life jacket when I'm in a boat, just on the lake. But if I'm in my husband's boat, a really fast boat, then I'll wear it."


The top three factors cited in boating fatalities are failure to wear a life jacket, alcohol use, and failure to obey navigational aids. Warden Rick Oullette added "We do work special details to address alcohol and life jacket violations."


Patrolling lakes and ponds, wardens also are on the lookout for boats speeding within 200 feet of the shore and current motorized boat registration stickers.


Now a life jacket really isn't difficult to put on. It's zips up pretty easily as well. And the only discomfort really is you may sweat a little more. And game wardens said sweating is not going to kill you. What will kill you is falling out of your boat without a life jacket on.