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Last Updated 6/17/07

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Welcome to Northern New England Touring Kayaker!

Archived Home Page June 17, 2007

Whether you enjoy day trips on our lakes or week long adventures along the coast, we all share one thing in common; our love for paddling the waters of Northern New England.

 

NH bill that would have required the registration of kayaks defeated in the senate

   The NH senate unanimously defeated SB 255, a bill that would have required all kayaks and canoes that are used on NH waters to be registered. The registration requirements would have applied to not only residents, but also to visitors and businesses. Money raised from the registration fee would have been used to fund the Fish and Game Department instead of benefiting paddlers directly. The bill was ultimately defeated because of vocal opposition from individuals, businesses and out-of-state paddlers. Last year, a similar bill was introduced in Maine, and it to was defeated because of strong public opposition. Many states are now looking at the paddle sports as a source of revenue for their cash strapped agencies, most of which do not benefit the paddler.


Safety First

   With the 2007 paddling season under way, it's very important to remember to dress for the water temperature and not the air temperature when you venture out. Hypothermia is the number one killer for boaters that are involved in early and late season boating accidents. Even when the spring sun warms the air, the water will remain dangerously cold for some time. The best protection against the cold water is a dry suit or a semi dry suit with a neoprene under layer.

   Always wear your PFD or personal floatation device. US Coast Guard regulations require that all boats have at least 1 wearable type 3 PFD for every person that is on a boat. The PFD must be the proper size for the intended user and it must be accessible at all times. For the kayaker this means that it must not be in the fore and aft compartments, dry bags or any other sealed container. Make it a habit to wear your PFD at all times, it will do you no good if you are not wearing it. In the event that you should run into trouble, the chances are that you will not have enough time to put the PFD on. 

   Never take on water that is above your skill level.. If you feel uncomfortable with the waters you are in, then turn around and move into waters that are calmer. Never paddle alone; especially if you are unfamiliar with the waters you are in or if you are planning to travel any distance off the coast. If you are a novice paddler, make sure that you venture out into unfamiliar waters with an experienced paddler or guide. Locating a licensed Maine Sea Kayak Guide is easy, visit the website of the Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guides at http://maineseakayakguides.com where you can find a list of licensed guides that can assist you.


 

Little Chebeague Island Maine

Little Chebeague Island Maine looking towards Chebeague Island; May 12th 2007

 

Maine Island Trail Association

   The Maine Island Trail Association is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to protecting the Maine coast for future generations and will be launching their annual 2007 membership drive very soon. You don't have to be a Maine resident to join, you just need the desire to help preserve the Maine coast. Every year, more and more of the coastline becomes off limits to the public,.. Last year marked the first time in MITA's 18 year history that the trail has expanded south of Portland. Currently the trail has expanded to over 370 miles in length and with your help, it can continue to grow. By supporting the Maine Island Trail Association you will not only help protect Maine's fragile coastline, but will also have access to the many private Islands that are open to MITA members only. If you like to volunteer, they look for folks like you to help clean up some of the many islands along the trail system. If you are interested in helping preserve the Maine Coast for future generations please contact the Maine Island Trail Association at 207-761-8225 or visit their website at http://mita.org.


 

Sunrise over Jewell Island Maine

Sunrise over Jewell Island Maine; June 11th 2007


PFD's

   Selecting a properly fitting PFD (person floatation device) is essential not only for comfort, but also for your safety. Choose a jacket that fits snuggly, has multiple adjustment points, and one that has enough bouncy. The higher the bouncy rating, the higher you will float in the water should you overturn. The Coast Guard requires that adult PFD's have a minimum rating of 15 1/2 pounds, so keep this in mind when selecting a new PFD. To make your day of paddling more comfortable, select a PFD that has large arm openings and one with either thinner foam or mesh on the lower back. This will allow for greater arm movement and less interference with the high backs that are found on some kayaks seats. Also select a PFD that has plenty of pockets and tabs to carry those items that you will need to access quickly and frequently. And finally, choose a PFD that has reflective tape and is bright in color. Make yourself visible; kayakers are not always easy to spot on the water.

   When selecting a PFD for a child, make sure you follow all the guidelines that you do for an adult. The best way to make sure that the PFD fits correctly is to lift the child by the shoulder straps. Their chin and ears must not slip through neck opening. For some added safety, many manufacturers offer children's PFD's with leg straps that will prevent the jacket from riding up. Remember, even the most expensive, best fitting PFD will not work if you are not wearing it.

Copyright 2007 Northern New England Touring Kayaker