Safety Patrol From Sharon Lamontagne

Reflecting on our slogan of Safety is NO Accident , I am reminded of and so grateful for the team of people that I have behind me to run this program. We will continue to educate and try our best to avoid accidents like last summers. There are hundreds of hours involved in this effort of keeping us all safe. But we still don’t reach everyone. We had a very serious accident that was investigated by the warden service. A reckless jet skier out after dark crashed into a float. Luckily there was only minor personal injury but property damage did occur. So we will continue to preach, educate, remind, and focus on safety. The State of Maine had a total of 4 recreational boat crashes last summer that resulted in 4 deaths, 11 property damaged boat crashes that involved more than $2000.00 in damages, and 10 personal injury crashes that involved the Warden Service. Although these numbers are down dramatically from 2017, Little Sebago Lake is unfortunate to be one of the lakes included in 2018’s statistic. I will briefly outline some of what we will be working on this summer. First and foremost is the ever present and extremely visible Patrol Boat, captained and managed by Roger Leblanc with his crew of John Bernier, Earl Spalding, Kate Martin and Cedric Harkin. We expect to be out every Friday through Sunday this summer and the entire week of July 4 th . The primary role of the boat is to observe boating behavior, promote the association, provide life preservers and assistance when needed, educate, and be a constant reminder to us all that safety matters. You may occasionally also see the boat this summer hanging close to the milfoil boat while the divers are underwater. There have been some close calls with boats coming too

close and putting the divers at risk. We will be using the patrol boat when necessary to keep others a safe distance away to protect the divers. We will also be managing the schedule for the State of Maine Wardens to be on our lake most every weekend. Last year, they were with us 17 days and checked 638 boats, writing only 25 citations. We will again be sponsoring the National Association of State Boating Law class on a date in June to be determined. A total of 725 Mainers took this class last year. Please look for more information on our website and or be sure you have provided us with a good email address and we will send out the information when it is available. The State of Maine is also offering many classes throughout the area. Information can be found at www.maine.gov/ifw/ programs-resources/safety-courses/boating- safety . If you cannot find a course, call the regional safety coordinator at 207-287-5220. We will cover the cost of any supporting member of our association who chooses to take any of these classes. Something new that we are starting this year will be private water safety education sessions. We will come to your property on a Saturday morning for an hour or so to emphasize our commitment to safety. This will be geared to children and we will go over proper fitting of life preservers, rescue and throw ring techniques, paddle board and kayak laws, age limits for boat driving, and give a little tour of our boat. If interested in scheduling a session, please reach out to us through our website or call 207-809-4706. And finally, we are working with the towns of Windham and Gray along with the Emergency Dispatch Center in Windham. Predetermined access points have been identified and at the start of each of our drivers shifts, they will call the dispatch center and give them the hours that we will be on the lake. If there is a 911 emergency call made to the dispatch center, the appropriate agency will be dispatched and then they will call us. If we are available and able to help in any way, we will. Thank you and remember…………….. Safety is NO Accident!


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