The U.S. Coast Guard Auxillary in Maine is hosting the boating safety symposium at the Bangor Y on Friday and folks from Castine Kayak Adventures will be on hand with boats in the water.
The event kicks off National Safe Boating Week, May 19 to May 25, and will give paddlers a chance to refresh their skills before hitting the water.
“We'll have an opportunity to be in the pool to demonstrate rescue technique as well as paddling techniques and there will be an opportunity for people to get in the pool and experiment with how they would reenter their boat,” said Karen Francoeur of Castine Kayak Adventures
Each spring canoe and kayak owners should check their gear to make sure it's hole-free and in proper working order before heading out on the water for the first time, and they should always wear -- not carry -- a life jacket.
“The leading cause of death in paddle sports is not wearing a life jacket,” Francouer said. “So, wear a life jacket. Make sure if you want your kids to wear a life jacket, you model it by wearing a life jacket. Get a life jacket that fits you and carry all your stuff in it. Love your life jacket and paddle smart from the start.”
Castine Kayak Adventures also offers a variety of safety classes for beginners and refresher courses advanced paddlers. Go to their website: Castinekayak.com to find out more.
Folks should also remember that even though the sun it out and it's hot enough to wear shorts, the water in Maine is extremely cold in the springtime so paddlers should prepare by wearing proper clothing.
“It's really not the time to wear your cotton shorts and your tank top or your bathing suit. Because the water is really, really cold this time of year,” Francoeur said.
There is a saying amongst paddlers that 'Cotton kills,' because it holds the cold against your skin, so Francoeur suggests synthetic, quick dry Lycra clothing.
“Prepare for the worst, and enjoy the best,” Francoeur said.
The free safety symposium is scheduled for 5-7:30 p.m. on Friday. The Bangor Y is located at the corner of Union and Second streets.