FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sen. Joyce Maker Proposes a Change to Life Jacket Laws at the Request of Drowning Victim’s Family
Public Hearing Scheduled for Next Week
Augusta – Nearly two years ago the community of Pleasant Point lost a 23-year-old to the cold waters of Half Moon Cove after his canoe capsized. In spite of searchers’ best efforts, the young man was last seen 200 yards from shore on top of his overturned canoe. Flash forward to today, the mother of this young man is raising awareness of the importance of life jackets by urging lawmakers to change the law to potentially prevent tragedies such as this one in the future.
That is why her state senator, Joyce Maker (R-Washington), has sponsored LD 342, “An Act To Require the Use of Personal Flotation Devices in Canoes.” As the title indicates, this bill requires the use of a Coast Guard approved Type I, Type II or Type III personal flotation device while canoeing.
“I submitted this bill at the request of a mother whose son drowned as a result of not wearing a personal flotation device on the ocean near Pleasant Point a little over a year ago,” said Sen. Maker. “He and two others were heading to go clamming and tipped over. Representative Dana joined more than 50 other people in the search, which lasted 4 days.
“I understand that Mainers value their personal freedoms and some adults choose to not wear a personal flotation device while canoeing. The mother who reached out about this bill request, however, I’m sure would give anything to be able to turn back time and make sure her son put on a life vest that day.
“According to the Maine Warden Service, the primary challenge for many people who are in a drowning situation is just keeping themselves afloat. While I don’t know if a life vest would have saved this young man, I have to think that it at least could have changed the outcome of this terrible tragedy.”
LD 342 has been scheduled for a public hearing before the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife on Tuesday, February 28 at 1:00 PM. For those who can’t make it, testimony may be submitted via email to Julia.Brown@legislature.maine.gov.