Lots of my kayaking frifinishs And that i are frequent clients of the Mere Level Boat Launch Inside the metropolis of Brunswick. I think about The current guidelines for kayaks and completely different hand-carry watercraft established by Brunswick Parks & Recreation are unsafe and discriminate in the direction of kayakers. I even Want to emphasize that I do not suspect these insurance coverage policies are The outcomes of dangerous intent, pretty a failure To know the wants and obstacles confronted by kayakers when launching or returning.
There are two factors that make launching at Mere Level unsafe and untruthful for kayakers: The onerous hand-carry launching facility and the requirement to load and unload from a distant parking location.
The picket ramp and stairs provided for kayakers to launch located left of the paved ramps is worse than unsafe. No kayaker that I’ve met has ever used it. Making an try To maintain and slide An extfinished heavy kayak down a steep slfinisher picket ramp whereas negotiating the equally steep cement steps that actually finish Inside the water at extreme tide is A nasty accident ready to happen. I’ve a educated frifinish who says The steps don’t even meet state safety requirements They typically definitely don’t meet ADA entry requirements for these with disabilities. The most safe method for kayakers to launch at Mere Level is on the paved ramps Similar to all completely different clients. Truly, that’s how all kayakers I do know launch and return.
Requiring kayakers and completely different hand-carry watercraft house owners to park and lug their boats 75 to 100 yards to and from the water is untruthful and pointmuch less. It discriminates in the direction of them as motorized watercraft house owners are permitted to load and unload on the useful paved ramps. Kayakers and hand-carry watercraft house owners are deal withed like second-class residents. They’re relegated to toting their heavy boats A comparatively prolonged distance typically by way of visitors To Obtain the water. Make no mistake, There’s Greater than merely boat launching visitors On this space as curiosity seekers and cyclists frequently drive down subsequent to the ramps. It’s a busy place. Many kayakers are aged And a few have disabilities. On a current journey with 5 kayakers, our common age exceeded 70. I’m 73 and was aready hip surgical procedure. The oldest member of our group was 84. All of us Desired to make the laborious carry to and from the kayak loading and unloading zone.
The reply to The current untruthful and dangerous kayak loading and unloading insurance coverage policies is to deal with all boat clients The identical Regardmuch less of boat type. Kayakers Ought to be In a place To attfinish in line And cargo and unload their boats on the paved ramps Similar to everyone else. I can drive Proper down to the ramp And cargo or unload my kayak And package in Decrease than half the time required for motorized boaters. Kayakers should be permitted to proceed their current apply of using the paved ramps when launching or returning. That is the one truthful coverage And a lot safer than requiring kayakers, some aged or disabled, to carry their heavy boats A comparatively prolonged distance by way of visitors After which launching or returning using the hazardous steep stairs and a nonsensical elevated picket ramp.
The current insurance coverage policies are disincentives for kayak and hand-carry watercraft use. I think about the objective should be simply The completely different. Policies should encourage kayak and hand-carry watercraft actions that foster good well being and are environmentally frifinishly. Further, these motor-free crafts don’t contribute to the water extreme quality factors Which have negatively impacted The world.
I encourage Brunswick Parks and Recreation To vary The guidelines for kayakers and completely different hand-carry watercraft house owners. They need to be permitted to load and unload on the paved ramps Similar to everyone else. It’s solely equitable And a lot much less dangerous than The current procedures. The kayak ramp and stairs should be demolished earlier than somebody is critically injured or worse.
On Aug. 18, I despatched a letter to Brunswick Parks & Recreation requesting They modify these unacceptable guidelines. So far, they haven’t responded.
Ron Chase lives in Topsham.