Sunday, September 9, 2007

cigarette boating death and our lawless lakes

Thoughts about this lawless lake-
It will be interesting to see how the Long Lake Cigarette Boating deaths are portrayed in the final report.To protect the boating lobby, I feel certain the State will divert blame onto the victims and assuredly lawmakers will take no action to prevent more deaths. I am surprised more death and destruction has not happened on Sebago Lake. Yesterday, I watched another cigarette boat roar by Long Point at 80 mph plus. This is now a common occurrence. My oldest daughter has kayaked each day this summer making a daily round trip from Long Point to Long Beach. She hugs the shoreline in fear of the latest brazen breed of reckless boaters oblivious to the boating laws of Maine. One of the raceways on this lake is from the Sandbar beach to the Sebago Lake Marina. The Sandbar beach is owned by the Portland Water district and leased to the Sebago Lake Boating Club for a dollar.
It is usually very crowded. It seems to magnet the "look at me" crowd with their loud fast boats . I have seen 3 cigarette boats at full throttle on this speedway, racing by, and drowning out all other sound as they traverse the lake in 3 to 4 minutes. They will split boats moving or sitting in the water fishing.
At night it is no secret to local law enforcement that drinking and boating go together at the Sandbar beach. A couple of years ago Long Point residents at 4am rescued a young man drifting into the big bay who had not fared well in a drunken altercation at the Sandbar Beach and in his attempt to flee in his boat hit a stump.
Another blight on Sebago Lake are the "rafters". Boaters will anchor together in close proximity to the shoreline. They will camp in that location for several nights.
They will bring other toys like jet skiis in tow and zoom up and down the shoreline well within 200 feet regardless if swimmers from cottages are near by.At night cottage owners are treated to their loud music and
drunken laughter late into the night. "Rafters" park a lounge chair in a foot of water near the shore and taunt the property owner to do anything about it. One property owner on the west shore has roped off his lakeshore water with swimbouys so residents can swim along the shoreline without dodging boats, jetskis and various other objects placed in the water. This "rafter" situation is condensed on the west shore because the bottom is still relatively sandy without weeds and muck.The desirable locations are diminishing.
With so many large overnight boats on Sebago Lake one wonders how the sewerage is handled. No one checks to see if the sewerage pumpouts are closed. The warden service needs a diver to check the boat for compliance and they will not dive in marinas because of the danger of ungrounded boats being fed with live power. With a flip of the pump out switch the boater can save at least a hundred dollars by flushing the sewerage into the lake. Boat inspections for sealed pumpout ports do not exist on Sebago Lake.
On some days there is no warden service anywhere near Sebago Lake. This can be true even on a busy weekend. The milfoil inspection rules are a joke on Sebago. Uninspected boats go in and out of the lake at most locations.
Of course the greatest lawlessness is the State role behind the present water level management plan which is destroying this lake physically as well as ecologically.On Long Point on one property the high water caused 700 yards of clay and silt to be dispersed into the lake. This quantity is known because the DEP required fill to rebuild the bluff profile.