SOMESVILLE, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – With hundreds expected to be out on the water this summer, the U.S. Coast Guard has ramped up efforts to bring awareness to paddler safety.

At least five people were killed in paddlecraft accidents, canoes, kayaks rowboats and paddle boards, already this year. That compared to nine in 2016, according to the Coast Guard.

“You know that’s an unacceptable number,” Michael Miller with the U.S. Coast Guard station in Southwest Harbor said.

In 80 percent of all water-related accidents the victim was not wearing a life jacket.

“Our policy is to just have everybody wear their life jacket but some people still don’t because they’re bulky and uncomfortable and not the coolest,” Bailey Moore said.

20-year-old Moore, a student at UMaine, has worked for National Park Canoe Rentals in Somesville since he was young.

“My grandfather used to own the business and I’ve been working here for like 10 years,” he said.

In that time, Moore has taken on the role of instructing renters on how to be safe on the water as they embark on their journey on four-mile Great Long Pond.

“By the afternoon it’s always pretty windy like this and that’s when people get into the most trouble,” he said.

As the tourist season kicks into full gear for Moore, the U.S. Coast Guard’s Paddle Responsibly initiative is as well. The effort providing a wealth of information for everyone heading out on the water.

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