Boating Safety Guidelines
Please remember that the boat traffic pattern on Forest Lake is COUNTER CLOCKWISE. This is especially important for boaters pulling skiers, boarders, and tubers. Because the lake is so small, having a set pattern for boating traffic allows other boats, jetskis, swimmers, and so on to anticipate your movements. Do the best that you can to stick to the pattern—let’s make this another safe summer!
Lake environments are very fragile. For their protection and yours, please keep in mind these basic rules:
- Before launching your boat, please make sure that it has been washed clean of any possible plant material that could endanger the lake.
- Keep a safe distance (100 feet) away from wildlife such as loons and their chicks to prevent injury.
- Be careful of spills when refueling or mixing gas.
- Keep a container aboard your watercraft for trash and take it with you when you leave.
- Always use headway speed only in channels or as otherwise indicated by markers.
- Be aware of water skiers and tubers who may cross your path when boating.
- Remember to turn on your anchor and navigating lights at dusk.
- Please respect the rights and privacy of waterfront property owners by not abusing their property.
- Be familiar with Maine regulations concerning the your responsibilities as a boat operator
Beware of Swimmers
In a lake as small as Forest Lake, it’s easy to forget that boats and jet skis are supposed to stay 200 feet from shore when operating above no-wake speed. As you move closer to shore, be aware that your wake may swamp the floatation device of a poor swimmer or send a wave crashing over the head of a small child.
Watch out for swimmers who swim the shoreline (or cross the lake!). Swimmers, if you’ll be swimming away from the shoreline or crossing a waterski pickup or drop off point, wear a brightly colored bathing cap. Swim with a buddy. Use a spotter for a cross-lake trek.
Parents, don’t leave your young children unattended in the water.
According to the CDC, nearly 4000 drownings occur in this country each year; that’s over 10 drownings per day. Let’s keep Forest Lake safe!
Maine law states that these dangerous operating practices are illegal:
- Reckless Operation of a vessel, water ski, surfboard, or similar device is operating in a manner that recklessly creates a substantial risk of serious bodily injury to another person. For example, weaving your vessel through congested waterway traffic is illegal, reckless operation.
- Operating To Endanger is operating a vessel, water ski, surfboard, or similar device in a manner that endangers any person or property.
- Imprudent Operation of a Vessel is engaging in prolonged circling, informal racing, wake jumping, or other types of continued and repeated activities that harass another person while operating on Maine waters.
- Operating Within a Bathing Area is operating a motorboat in an area that is marked or buoyed for bathing (swimming).
- Operating To Molest Wildlife is chasing, molesting, harassing, driving, or herding wildlife with your vessel, unless allowed during the open season on that species.
- “Headway Speed” means the slowest speed at which it is still possible to maintain steering and control of the vessel.
- Improper Speed or Distance is not keeping a proper speed and distance while operating a vessel. You may not:
- Operate at a rate of speed that is not reasonable and prudent for existing conditions.
- Operators must regulate their speed to avoid endangering, injuring, or unnecessarily inconveniencing another vessel and its occupants, whether anchored or underway.
- Operators also must also consider the effect of their vessel’s wake on waterfront piers, floats, other property, or shorelines.
- Operate a vessel at greater than “headway speed” while within 200 feet of any shoreline, including islands.
- Unlawfully Permitting Operation is negligently permitting another person to operate your vessel in violation of Maine law.
- Exception: Vessels may operate at greater than headway speed in the areas listed above while actively fishing or while following a direct course to pick up or drop off skiers.