Archive June 2014
Boating on Lake Champlain This Summer? Listen Up!
Story by: Megan Carpenter, MyChamplainValley.com
BURLINGTON, Vt.- The U.S. Coast Guard says it’s had two rescues on Lake Champlain in the past two weeks. Both were kayakers who capsized. Although the Coast Guard says there has not been an increase in water rescues, anytime they need to help someone in need is one time too many.
“We are here for the purpose of search and rescue and law enforcement, but if someone doesn’t know too much about boating, it could take us away from say a boat fire,” says U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Second Class Nicholas McGowan.
Another water rescue happened last week at Rouses Point. The Coast Guard says it’s important to take precautions before putting a boat in the water.
“Making sure they have a life jacket that fits and is Coast Guard approved, which you can see that right on the tag,” says McGowan. “Let a friend or family member know ‘hey, I’m going to be out for an hour, and if I’m not back, please let the Coast Guard know.”
John Freeman has owned the Small Boat Exchange in Shelburne for almost 30 years. He says he always tells customers what the proper gear is and how to make a boating experience on Lake Champlain a safe one.
“Be mindful of your physical capabilities,” says Freeman. “Don’t go out too far and if you’re new to kayaks, stay close to shore until you get a bit more experience.”
Freeman adds having a paddle float and water pump on board kayaks and canoes is essential. A paddle float balances a kayak if it capsizes. A water pump empties a kayak if it fills up.
The Coast Guard says federal law requires life jackets on board every boat and enough of them for every passenger. A violation can cost up to a $100 fine in New York State, according to Clinton County Sheriffs Department. Vermont State Police say fines for the same violation range from $70 to $105.