Boating is among the myriad recreational activities enjoyed by Mainers and vacationing visitors alike during the summer months.
And there are lots of powerboats, personal watercraft, canoes, kayaks and paddleboards on our waters.
So, we asked you whether you have any pet peeves when it comes to boating. And you do.
For starters, 93 percent of folks who responded to our query said they have “had negative responses with boaters.” Among those, more than half said the encounters have “gotten worse in recent years.”
Readers’ lengthy list of grievances centered around excessive speed, a lack of courtesy or respect demonstrated by boat operators, personal watercraft in general, noise, disregard for boating laws and safety practices, and operating too close to shore.
“Much like a snowmobile or ATV, anyone with a checkbook or some credit can buy a boat. No drivers Ed or water safety course required,” one reader said. “You got the money, the bigger and fastest boat is yours. Out on the water they go, with little to no idea on safe handling or practices.”
Some of those dynamics will be changing in Maine starting next year. In April, the Legislature passed LD 1663, which beginning Jan. 1, 2024, will require young boaters to take a boater education course and obtain a certificate to operate certain watercraft.
That speaks to a concern some of our survey respondents have about boating in Maine.
“Folks that have no knowledge of proper boat operation and safety. Take a USCG course! Learn what ‘no wake zone’ means,” one reader said.
Some of the pet peeves are intertwined. Not only are many powerboats and jet skis able to achieve fast speeds and generate considerable noise, folks are concerned about the lack of adherence to the law requiring boat operators maintain only headway speed in no wake zones and within 200 feet of the shore.
“Jet skis coming close to shore at high speeds and going around around around in circles out in front of our house and they are so noisy!” a reader commented.
Respondents are worried about shore erosion and the potential disturbance of nesting birds because of boat traffic.
“Check the stats on Loons deaths — boats are the leading cause. Propeller strikes,” one reader said.
Great Pond in Belgrade was the scene of a scenario last summer during which a nonresident boater with a “huge” boat didn’t take into account the needs of others at the boat launch.
“Rather than prepping his boat before hand, he spent the time chatting with his buddies,” one reader said. “When it was his turn to launch, he spent 45 minutes prepping his boat on the launch, while a multitude of others were waiting to launch or remove their boat from the water.”
There also were readers who pointed out situations that spill over from the water onto the shore.
“Using other’s beachfront,” was a pet peeve for one reader.
Another said even animals can become a problem.
“Loose dogs chasing their kayaking paddling owners from land, obviously pooping on our property, but also growling, aggressive behavior and trying to get inside our home,” one homeowner said.