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Safe Boating Week Kicks Off With Paddle Smart From The Start
Thursday, May 20, 2004
AUGUSTA, Maine -- National Safe Boating Week starts Saturday, May 22, and runs from May 22-28. To start things off on Friday, May 21, there is the Paddle Smart from the Start Safety Symposium that will take place from 5-9:30 p.m. at the YMCA in Bangor. The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Department of Marine Resources, and Penobscot Bay Sail and Power Squadron will all be there along with others involved in Maine's thriving canoe and kayak industry.

"One item that will be stressed at this symposium is to give a special reminder to all boaters and those who enjoy canoeing and kayaking to wear a Coast Guard approved personal floatation device while on the water," said Game Warden Colonel Tim Peabody, "Cold water drowning is a threat year round in Maine, even the strongest of swimmers can't avoid hypothermia. A good PFD can save your life or the life of family or friends."

The Maine Warden Service and Maine Marine Patrol are working with volunteers from the Coast Guard Auxiliary and United States Power Squadron to help educate recreational boaters and promote boating safety, as well as encouraging all boaters to use their life jackets.

"What is sad about most boating fatalities in Maine is that they are preventable," said Peabody, "lifejackets do not work unless you're wearing them."

Wearing a life jacket is just one part of boating safety, and all boaters should follow these simple do's and don'ts of boating safety.

*DO wear a life jacket. They Float. You Don't.
*DON'T mix alcohol and boating.
*DO observe the nautical rules-of-the-road.
*DON'T stand in a small boat.
*DO check the weather forecast before getting underway.
*DON'T overload your boat.
*DO tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
These suggestions are also a constant reminder of one very important thing in regards to boating safety, and that is using common sense.

The waterways offer an open invitation to all types of boating. A boater should be aware of the outcome of their actions. Accidents result from a chain of circumstances or behavior which can be easily avoided. Remember to follow the above boating do's and don'ts and take a boating safety course.

For more information or brochures pertaining to boating safety, please call the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Recreational Safety Division at 207-287-5220.

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