Be on your best paddlecraft behavior


The Coast Guard is scheduled to be out in full force this weekend enforcing paddlecraft safety.

The Coast Guard will be looking for life jackets, a sound making device, and other safety equipment to ensure paddlers are safe on the water, according to a US Coast Guard press release.

Since April 2017, the Coast Guard has conducted more than 370 paddlecraft boardings and terminated 110 voyages. Voyages were terminated due to not having a life jacket or a sound producing device.

Paddler fatalities have hit the northeast particularly hard. According to the National Safe Boating Council in 2016, the region had 28 paddler deaths, more than double the national average. To date, there have been about 33 recreational boating fatalities, with 20 of those deaths happening in inland waters. Sixteen out of the 33 deaths were paddlecraft related.

Paddlesports continue to be the fastest growing segment of recreational boating, with more than 300,000 paddle crafts (canoes, kayaks and paddleboards) being sold annually.

Paddlers should know their skill level and not go beyond it,” said Walt Taylor, a recreational boating specialist with the Coast Guard’s First District, said in a press release.

Paddlers in Massachusetts waters are required to wear life jackets from Sept. 15 through May 15. Children under 12 are required to be in a life jacket at all times.