News from the Harbor Master
A few tips will help make your season safe and successful. If you haven’t had one, now would be a good time to take a public safe boating course. They are available locally for a nominal fee from both the U.S. Power Squadron and the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Also consider getting a free Vessel Safety Check from either the Power Squadron or the Auxiliary. A trained inspector will go over your boat with you and help determine if you have any safety deficiencies in your equipment and make recommendations for improvement. If you pass the check you will be awarded a sticker that can get you a discount on your boat insurance and some discounts at local marine retailers.
Mainers lose their lives in boating accidents every year so safety can never be emphasized too much. Be sure you have enough life jackets for everyone on board, that they are in good condition and easily available to put on in case of emergency. The smartest thing is to invest in a life jacket that is comfortable to wear, such as inflatable suspenders, so you will already be wearing your life jacket if something goes wrong. A life jacket on a boat is like a seat belt in a car – it won’t do you any good in an accident if you’re not wearing it. You’d never take your child in a car without wearing a seat belt so don’t take him or her on a boat without wearing a life jacket. Life jackets are mandatory for children 10 and under. It only takes around 20 seconds for a small child to drown. Our children are precious – don’t take any chances!
Some additional safety thoughts: be sure to carry a working fire extinguisher on board at all times, have flares and other safety signaling devices available, and leave a float plan with a relative or friend in case you don’t return as scheduled. Also remember that drinking and boating don’t mix – most boating fatalities involve the use of alcohol.
Be an environmentally friendly boater. Groundings and running at high speeds will disturb bottom dwelling organisms and shoreline vegetation. Please keep in mind that the Cathance River and Merrymeeting Bay are limited and irreplaceable resources capable of supporting fishing, duck hunting, and recreational boating. Don’t pollute our waters with either oil or gas discharge. Take all your trash home with you.
Here are a few reminders for the use of our public boat launching area:
For the courtesy of other boaters the launch ramp is for loading and unloading only unless otherwise designated.
Overnight stays at the launching ramp or town docks must be approved by the Harbor Master.
Park boat trailers only in designated parking areas.
In order to prevent ramp damage, no power loading on trailers.
No alcoholic beverages, controlled substances, or disorderly conduct is allowed.
Posting advertisements or other notices must be approved at the Town Office.
Pet owners must clean up any fecal deposits left by their pets.
No discharging of wastes of any kind, including but not limited to soaps, detergents and refuse. Please carry out all litter.
For Safety reasons, the launching ramp and docks are designated as NO SMOKING AREAS while refueling.
Boat wakes damage the shoreline, private property and plant habitat. Please be aware that STATE LAW requires headway speed while within the Water Safety Zone. “Water Safety Zone” is defined as the area within 200 feet of the shoreline.
Reminder: Thursday evening concerts are a busy time at the launch area. For safety reasons, please take extra precautions at the boat launching area and parking lot on Thursday evenings from 6 PM until 8 PM. It is a very congested time with vehicles and people (especially children) in the parking lot and around the swimming area.
If you have any questions on anything in this article or you’re interested in a mooring in the harbor you can call me at the town office at 666-5531 or email me at email@example.com
. Remember to think safety first at all times. Have a fun and safe boating season! -John