May 27, 2021

MDIFW NEWS: Maine Warden Service Urges All Boaters To Wear Life Jackets, Abide By Headway Speed Law And Boat Safely

AUGUSTA, Maine - Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of the boating season for many, and the Maine Warden Service is urging all boaters to wear their PFD (personal floatation device), abide by the Headway Speed law, and to boat safely.

"Memorial Day usually is the first time out for many boaters, and we want everyone to enjoy Maine's waters, but to do so safely and responsibly," said Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner Judy Camuso.

With cooler water temperatures in May, its important that boaters wear their PFDs, said Maine Warden Lieutenant Jason Luce No one expects to find themselves in the water when they are boating, but a PFD can save your life if you fall in.

Annually, over 85% of the countrys boating fatalities involve boaters not wearing lifejackets. Approximately half of Maines boating deaths involve non-motorized watercraft such as canoes and kayaks with the paddler not wearing a PFD. Even the strongest swimmers lose the ability to stay afloat when immersed in cold water for a period of time. A life jacket can keep you afloat until help arrives.

A life jacket doesnt help if it is stored under the seat of a boat and you are in the water, said Colonel Dan Scott. Tragically, each year we investigate boating fatalities where if someone was wearing their life jacket, they would still be alive.

The Maine Warden Service enforces all Maines boating laws and will be on patrol reminding boaters to wear their life jackets. Additionally, wardens will be looking for violations of Maines Headway Speed law, which requires all motorized watercraft to operate at the minimum speed to maintain steerage while within 200 feet of any shore (including islands). Maines headway speed law protects boaters, swimmers, personal property, the shoreline from erosion and nesting wildlife.

Before you head out on Maines waters, the Maine Warden Service reminds you to:

Wear your life jacket. Do not mix alcohol and boating. Be conscious of your boats wake. Operate your watercraft at a reasonable speed for conditions and be considerate of other boaters on the water. Devise a float plan. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. Be mindful of headway speed areas on Maines waters, and obey all boating laws. If your boat has an attachable engine cut-off switch, utilize it. Make sure your boat is equipped with all the proper safety equipment, including wearable life jackets for all on board Always check the weather before heading out.

For more information concerning boating safety, please visit for more information as well as for online boating safety courses.