ChipLakeNEWS InfoSheet

This InfoSheet is number: 0803

Summary: The Marking of Rocks and Shoals on Maine Lakes.

As the result of many requests for the Chiputneticook Lakes International Conservancy to mark dangerous rocks and shoals on East Grand Lake and other Chiputneticook waters, the Maine Department of Conservation (DOC) - Navigational Aids Section in Augusta was contacted...the contact person in Augusta is Tim Thurston (207-582-5771).

He related that there MAY BE legal liability attached to the private or commercial placement of floating markers on Maine Lakes and that the Maine Department of Conservation has established a permitting program to allow lake associations to enter into an agreement with the DOC to purchase specific markers and place them. Part of the agreement is that the association is to be responsible to place the markers as soon as possible after ice out and to remove and maintain the markers at the end of each boating season. Participation in the marking permit program generally removes liability from the placement of marker buoys (at least from Maine-based suits).

The approved bouys are approximately 5" in diameter and usually have some type of legend or marking on them, depending on each bouy's intended use...e.g. marking a rock or warning boaters not to pass between the marker and land. Among other requirements, participating lake associations are required to check every marker every three weeks during the boating season, to make a log of the checking process and transmit that log to the DOC at the end of each season. The lake association must also purchase the markers from the state at a cost of $45.00 each (half of the state's cost) and the association must provide an anchor, rode and attachments for each marker.

The State of Maine DOC's Navigation Aids section currently places more than 3600 official markers on 24 Maine lakes and has a waiting list for lakes to be added to those lakes that the state currently marks. East Grand is tenth from the top of that list...West Grand is higher on the list and 100 to 120 markers are estimated for West Grand...50 markers would probably be needed for the Maine waters of East Grand...the DOC would have no authority to place markers on the Canadian side of the International Boundary down the center of the lake. Two state employees are responsible for annually placing, checking and recovering all 3600 markers that the state currently places...and generally, no rocks within 200 feet of shore are marked under the premise that boaters are required to travel only at headway speed (fast enough ONLY to maintain steerage) that close to shore...and are expected to be able to see dangerous rocks at slow speeds.

Finally, Mr. Thurston related that when he is on Maine's lakes, he is supposed to remove or direct the removal of any unauthorized floating marker, such as the ubiquitous bleach bottle.

The result is that unless a group of concerned boaters and, perhaps, lodge owners team with the lake association to apply for a permit with Maine DOC, there will not be any official marking of rocks in the Chiputneticooks in the foreseeable future.

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