In Maine we wait all year for our beautiful summers. This is also when millions of travelers arrive to share our beautiful state. With the increased traffic, and increased use of boats, ATVs, and other outdoor recreation, serious injuries happen. Here are some tips to avoid injuries:

1. If you are going to use a watercraft, or ATV, be certain you have the proper experience and training to operate it. Maine now requires that persons born after January 1, 1999 may not operate a motorboat greater than 25 horsepower for recreational purposes on inland waters or territorial waters unless that person is 12 years old and has taken a boater safety and education class. A person born after January 1, 1999 must also take a boater safety and education class and be at least 16 years of age to operate a personal watercraft such as a jet ski or to supervise a person under age 12 who is operating a motorboat.

2. If you own a boat or ATV, be certain if you allow others to operate it, that they, too, have the proper knowledge and instruction to use it and will follow the recommended safety guidelines. Maine requires that persons using ATVs who are under age 18 wear helmets. Be certain that you have adequate helmets for users.

3. If you plan to use a non-motorized watercraft such as a paddleboard or canoe, be cognizant of motorized boats around you. Unfortunately, accidents happen when boaters either can’t see smaller watercraft or get distracted. Wear visible colors and be mindful of the lighting. Avoid high traffic areas and stay away from boats that are towing skiers and tubers.

4. Be certain you have adequate insurance if you own a recreational vehicle or boat. Accidents happen and injuries can be serious and, unfortunately, even fatal. If you have an e-bike, you need to check whether it is insured as it may be considered a motorized vehicle and not covered under your homeowner’s insurance.

5. Do not operate a boat, ATV, or even a bike if impaired by alcohol or drugs. Many serious injuries and even death can occur when people take unreasonable risks when impaired.

Maine’s warmer weather activities are best enjoyed when people take measures to receive proper training and knowledge of the laws before venturing out.