Tag Archives: Safety

Fishing Access Areas Not Safe for Swimming

Fishing Access Areas Not Safe for Swimming

Fishing Access Areas Not Safe for Swimming
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department reminds the public not to swim at fishing access areas due to safety concerns. The primary use of the fishing access areas is for launching and retrieving motorboats.

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department maintains more than 180 developed fishing access areas on lakes and rivers throughout the state. These areas have allowed uses determined by law, and swimming is not one of them.

The access areas were purchased and are maintained with funds derived from the sale of fishing licenses and motorboat registrations, as well as a federal excise tax on fishing equipment, fishing tackle, and gasoline for motorboats. These funding sources explicitly prohibit activities that are in conflict with fishing and boating.

Fish & Wildlife regulations prohibit certain uses of fishing access areas including, but not limited to — swimming, littering, camping, picnicking, making a fire, parking of vehicles not related to priority uses, and commercial activity.

“It’s great that people want to get out in the water, but a boat ramp is not the right place to go swimming,” said Mike Wichrowski who oversees the Fishing Access Area Program. “There’s a reason motorboats aren’t allowed in swimming areas, and swimming isn’t allowed at fishing access areas — it’s simply not safe.”

Vermont game wardens have responded to several incidents in recent weeks involving people swimming at fishing access areas. In some cases people, including children, were swimming right at the boat ramps while boats were being launched, risking injury or preventing the launching of boats.

“We understand that people want to go swimming, especially during hot weather, but we are urging folks to swim at locally approved swimming areas,” said Colonel Jason Batchelder. “Finding a safe swimming area is easy in most communities. Just ask at a general store or other place where people gather.”

The fine for swimming at an access area is $162.


Coast Guard saves 3 from overturned boat on Lake Champlain

Coast Guard saves 3 from overturned boat on Lake Champlain

A submerged catamaran remains at the scene of a rescue in Lake Champlain, Vermont, June 8, 2016. A crew from Coast Guard Station Burlington pulled three people from the submerged hull after the 14-foot boat capsized in heavy winds about a mile from shore. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

A submerged catamaran remains at the scene of a rescue in Lake Champlain, Vermont, June 8, 2016.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The Coast Guard responded to an overturned vessel and three people in the water Wednesday on Lake Champlain, Vermont.

Coast Guard Sector Northern New England watchstanders received a call at approximately 2:15 p.m. from a person on land reporting a capsized 14-foot catamaran in Appletree Bay about one mile northwest from shore.

Coast Guard Station Burlington launched a crew aboard a 26-foot boat who arrived on scene at about 2:45 p.m. and found three people sitting on the hull of the overturned boat.

The survivors reported heavy winds in the area caused the craft to capsize. They reportedly had safety equipment on board but were not dressed for the water, which was about 63 degrees. They said they were cold and one reportedly had suffered a minor cut. The station crew transported them back to Station Burlington where they were each evaluated by awaiting Emergency Medical Service and released.

Station Burlington issued a safety marine broadcast to warn nearby boaters of the overturned vessel.

“This is a perfect example of how quickly things can change at sea,” said Chief Michael Faivre from Sector Northern New England’s command center. “It’s an unpredictable environment, and being dressed appropriately for both the air and the water is essential.”

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Coast Guard Station Burlington conducts ice rescue training on Lake Champlain

Coast Guard Station Burlington conducts ice rescue training on Lake Champlain

Coast Guard Station Burlington conducts ice rescue training on Lake Champlain

Members of Station Burlington, Vermont’s ice rescue team adjust straps on their rescue board during training in Burlington Bay, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016.

The ice rescue board uses a system of pulleys to make it easier for rescuers to pull a survivor out of the freezing water. Another method for getting a survivor out of the water is the self-help technique. This technique involves a team member walking the survivors through how to get themselves out of the water. The team member instructs the survivor to kick their legs until they are parallel with the ice ledge and use their arms to crawl forward.

(U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Barresi)

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Coast Guard Seeks Help Finding Prank Callers

uscg 1The Coast Guard is trying to determine the source of calls broadcast over marine emergency channels that proved to be false alarms. Using these channels is like dialing 911 on the water,

The Coast Guard wants to identify the caller or callers to ensure safety on Lake Champlain and other waterways, as well as to ensure the emergency system is not being abused.

During the last two weeks of May Lake Champlain the Coast Guard station in Burlington, Vermont, received radio broadcasts of:

  • A claim that the caller’s boat was taking on water and that the boater saw a great white shark in Lake Champlain’s fresh waters.
  • “Mayday, mayday, mayday”
  • “Mayday, mayday. Iceberg straight ahead… two crazy people on the bow, kissing,”


The Coast Guard said there is a serious punishment to match the crime of misusing emergency channels. A conviction comes with the potential of prison time and hefty fines, plus the cost of the unnecessary search in some cases.

“If we’re responding to a false claim of distress at the southern end of the lake and there’s an actual distress on the northern end, we’d have to divert and call in another crew. And it could cost someone’s life because we’re searching for someone who’s not there or in actual distress.” ~ Coast Guard Machinery Technician Third Class, Michael Knight

Knight pointed out the Coast Guard must handle even suspicious calls as if they are real. “It’s not a joke, it’s a crime,” he said. Knight also suggested parents watch their children playing with radios on boats, reminding them that emergency frequencies are not for fun.

150419 Coast Guard Station Burlington Vermont assist Burlington Fire Dept , rescue injured hikers-S

U. S. Coast Guard crew stationed in  Burlington Vermont assist the Burlington Fire Dept , with the rescue injured hikers last month

Anyone who knows more about the calls is asked to call the Coast Guard’s northern New England sector at 207-767-0303.

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Anglers, Hunters & Boaters Reminded of Cold Water Safety by VT Fish & Wildlife

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Advice on Cold Water Safety

Autumn has arrived and with the resulting cold air and water temperatures, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is reminding anglers, hunters and boaters to take caution and exercise  cold water safety  practices while on the water this fall.

“The fall season can be a very enjoyable time of year to be on the water,” said Sgt. Keith Gallant, warden with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Dept. “With migrating waterfowl and great fishing opportunities, Vermont’s waterways are at their peak in the fall.”

Fall also brings lower water temperatures, which increase the risk of hypothermia in the case of an on-the-water accident.

Cold Water Safety Begins With PFD

“The use of a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) is absolutely critical this time of year, given that it can significantly increase chances of survival in cold-water scenarios,” said Gallant.

Vermont boating law requires that all vessels carry one U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III or V PFD for each person on board. Vessels 16 feet in length or longer must also have one U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type IV PFD on board. Additionally, children under 12 years of age must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II or III PFD at all times while any vessel is underway.

New York State boating laws, which apply to the waters on the New York side of Lake Champlain, require that all persons aboard motorboats, canoes, kayaks, rowboats and sailboats less than 21 feet in length wear a PFD while on New York waters from November 1 to May 1.

Anglers, Hunters & Boaters Reminded of Cold Water Safety by VT Fish & Wildlife ( PFD's )

Types of PFD’s

Sudden immersion in cold water, can lead to loss of swimming ability and strength, gasping and the inhalation of water, hypothermia, and rapid unconsciousness.

“Cold water removes body heat much faster than cold air, so wearing a life jacket is critical any time cold water is present,” said Gallant. “A life jacket won’t keep you warm in cold water, but it will keep you afloat in the event that you go overboard, which could mean the difference between life and death.”

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department advises sportsmen and women to properly plan for a fall outing on the water by ensuring that they have all required safety equipment such as visual and audible distress signaling devices, plenty of warm clothing, and an updated weather forecast. Strong winds are common in the fall and can sometimes make for dangerous situations on larger bodies of water such as Lake Champlain.

To learn more about boating safety and Vermont’s boating laws, visit http://www.boat-ed.com/vermont/handbook/.

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