My girlfriend Michele and our friend Amy were enjoying the nice weather over the Fourth of July weekend paddle boarding on Keoka Lake when they were suddenly approached by Maine Game Wardens in a boat. That's right. They were stopped on the lake on paddle boards.

What was the problem? Turns out Michele was not wearing a life jacket, and one of the wardens explained that a lot of people don't realize that Maine State law requires anyone on the water using and device to propel themselves, be it a boat or even a paddle board, must have a properly-fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved serviceable life jacket. That doesn't mean a person must wear it, but there must be one available to them.

Since Michele didn't have one, the wardens gave her one to use and asked her to leave it on the dock when she was done. Her name and phone number was taken for records when the wardens came to retrieve the jacket.

Needless to say, we were surprised, but it's a good reminder for everyone that you need to have a life jacket available to you when using anything that propels you in the water. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.


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