Cabela’s and Maine Marine Patrol Team Up to Save Lives on the Water
While recreational boating season is still over a month away the Maine Marine Patrol and outdoor outfitter Cabela’s are teaming up to ensure that when the season begins boaters without a proper personal flotation device (PFD) can borrow one and keep their voyage, and their passengers, alive.
This collaborative initiative is being unveiled in conjunction with the May 16 launch of the 2015 North American Safe Boating Campaign. This national yearlong campaign promotes safe and responsible boating and the value of voluntary, consistent life jacket wear by recreational boaters.
The U. S. Coast Guard and Maine law require that boaters must have US Coast Guard approved PFDs on board. The number and type of PFDs that boaters will need depend on the size of the boat, the number and the age of people on board.
“To help us kick off this important awareness campaign, Cabela’s is generously donating 15 Tournament 3500 PFDs, which are light weight, state-of-the-art inflatable life jackets that can be adjusted to fit children as small as 80 pounds and adults,” said Marine Patrol Sergeant Rob Beal. “Valued at approximately $150 each, these life jackets are priceless when it comes to lives they can save.”
Sergeant Beal has been working to assess areas on the Maine coast with significant recreational boating activity and to outfit Marine Patrol vessels in those areas with loaner PFDs. “To get the program started I am going to outfit patrol vessels in the vicinity of Boothbay Harbor, the Kennebec River, Casco Bay and Saco Bay,” said Sergeant Beal.
Sergeant Beal will also produce an informational card to handout with each loaner PFD which includes a brief survey of boater activity and is returned with the PFD at the end of the boater’s day. “The survey will allow us to gauge boaters’ understanding of the importance of life jackets. We will collect the survey card and the life jacket at the end of the day.”
“What looks like a perfect day for boating can quickly become hazardous if you end up in the water,” said Sergeant Beal. “U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in three-fourths of recreational boating fatalities in the United States in 2013, and that 84 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.”
“Each year hundreds of people lose their lives, and they may still be alive if they had been wearing a life jacket,” said Beal. “You never know when there may be a boating mishap, so it’s important that everyone onboard always wears a life jacket.”
“New life jackets are much more comfortable, lightweight and stylish than the bulky orange style most boaters know. The inflatable PFDs donated by Cabela’s will allow mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, paddling or hunting, and are much cooler in the warmer weather,” said Sergeant Beal.
“This donation from Cabela’s demonstrates a commitment to more than their bottom-line,” said Sergeant Beal. “It shows how dedicated Cabela’s is to supporting the Maine Marine Patrol and, more importantly, safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the people who enjoy the waters of the Maine coast.”
Cabela’s is a hunting, fishing and outdoor gear outfitter established in 1961. Today, Cabela’s sells its merchandise through catalog, internet, and retail locations throughout the North America including Scarborough, Maine.
CAPTION: Pictured above, Marine Patrol Sergeant Rob Beal (right) displays one of the life jackets donated to the Marine Patrol by Cabela’s to support the Marine Patrol’s PFD loaner program for recreational boaters. With Sergeant Beal is Greg Sirpis, Retail Marketing Manager for Cabela’s
HARTFORD — Officials from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection are enlisting dogs to help sniff out illegally caught fish.
DEEP says three of its Environmental Conservation Police officers and their Labrador Retriever partners have received three weeks of special training from a state police K-9 unit. Those involved include Officer Holly Bernier and Saydee, Officer William Logiodice and Ruger, and Officer Karen Reilly and Hunter.
The teams were certified in tracking and evidence recovery in 2012.
The dogs, who were rescued from the Connecticut Labrador Rescue Inc. in Haddam, have been trained to search on vessels, under rocks, and in other places where illegally taken fish could be hidden. Specifically, the dogs will be trained to detect certain sport fish species commonly caught, such as trout and striped bass.
“Fish and game detection canines have been used throughout the country to assist officers in combating illegal fishing, hunting, and trapping,” said DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen.
“It is a credit to our EnCon officers that they were interested in working with their dogs to expand their abilities and importance to the agency,” Whalen continued. “These canines and their handlers will be a valuable asset when it comes to protecting the state’s natural resources.”
Captain Ryan Healy from State EnCon Police said, “For the most part people are pretty compliant, but there are a few bad apples.” Healy noted similar K-9 programs are already in place in states like Florida and New Hampshire.
During a demonstration at DEEP’s Marine Headquarters in Old Lyme, Ruger, the 4-year-old K-9 partner to Officer Logiodice, quickly sniffed out a stash of striped bass hidden in a pontoon boat and was given his reward: a well-gnawed tennis ball.
Logiodice said their tracking dogs think their job is all a game: “All he wants to do is find the fish so he can get his ball.”
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