Hello to all from the shores of Megunticook Lake. One year ago on this date the ice was long gone and spring was under way. This year the geese, ducks, and turkey vultures have returned from the southern regions only to be met with cold harsh weather. It must be tough on all the wildlife in the area when the temperature ranges from the 50’s to the single numbers in the span of a few short days. A few days ago I saw people out fishing in a canoe. A short distance away was a group ice fishing at Barrett’s Cove. With the recent change in Maine’s fishing laws this is now legal, open water fishing from the canoe and ice fishing from the ice at the same time.
Stand up paddleboards (SUPs) have become very popular, with thousands of users statewide. From the Maine Wardens Service:
1) Anyone who is hired to take a paddleboarder out on the water in Maine (coastal or inland waters) must be a licensed recreational guide.
2) Stand up paddleboards are considered watercraft.
3) A person utilizing a standup paddleboard shall carry at least one Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device, otherwise known as a PFD or lifejacket, (a type I, II, or III) for each person aboard.
4) Children 10 years of age or younger must wear a Type I, II, or III PFD at all times on a standup paddleboard as is required for all watercraft.
The U.S. Coast Guard Regulations for SUPs, for USCG jurisdictions (saltwater). The USCG has determined that SUP boards operating outside a surfing, swimming, or bathing area are “VESSELS” under USCG regulations. What that means for you when you’re outside those areas.
Each paddler 13 years of age or older MUST have a USCG-approved Type I, II, or III PFD or appropriate type V. It doesn’t have to be worn. Although wearing it is strongly recommended. A child 12 years old or younger must wear their USCG- approved life jacket. The belt pouch-type inflatable personal flotation device (PFD) must be on person to meet the regulations.
Other required gear:
A whistle or sound producing device must be carried to warn other boaters. If on the water after sunset, you need a flashlight or similar lighting device to warn other boaters
Remember that you are about the most vulnerable person on the water. Watch out for powerboats, wear bright colors that show up in well, this can be a lifesaver. Also many boating accidents involve alcohol so please wait until you are back on shore of the fabulous Megunticook Watershed.
Have fun out there, and above all, boat safe !
LAKE PATROL WARDEN Dale Dougherty