Mandatory life jackets proposed in Maine

Posted April 06, 2009, at 5:23 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — All boaters in Maine will have to wear life jackets if a bill under review in the Legislature becomes law.

The Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee on Tuesday will hold a hearing on a bill to make it mandatory for everyone in a watercraft on Maine waters to wear a personal flotation device. Bath Democratic Rep. Thomas Watson’s bill is titled “An Act to Save Lives on Maine Waters.”

Coast Guard figures show 12 boating deaths in Maine in 2006. Between 2002 and 2006, there were 51 deaths on Maine waters reported to the Coast Guard. The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 68 percent of the fatalities in non-motorized boating accidents between 2000 and 2007 involved people who were not wearing PFDs.

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