The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is reminding the public not to swim in fishing access areas for safety reasons.
TThe main use of the fishing access areas is for launching and hauling in motor boats.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department maintains 196 developed fishing access areas on lakes and rivers across the state. These areas have legal uses, and swimming is not one of them.
The access areas have been purchased and are being maintained with funds from the sale of fishing licenses and motorboat registrations, as well as a federal excise tax on fishing tackle, tackle, and motorboat gasoline. These sources of funding specifically prohibit activities that conflict with fishing and boating.
Fish and wildlife regulations prohibit certain uses of access areas for fishing, including, but not limited to – swimming, trashing, camping, picnicking, making fires, parking non-priority vehicles, and commercial activities.
“It’s great that people want to get out in the water, but a boat ramp isn’t the place to swim,” says Mike Wichrowski, who heads the Fishing Access Area Program. “There’s a reason motor boats aren’t allowed in swimming areas and swimming isn’t allowed in fishing access areas – it’s just not safe.”
Vermont state rangers often respond to incidents where people swim in fishing access areas. In some cases, people, including children, swim right off the boat ramps while the boats are in the water, risking injury or preventing boats from clogging.
“We understand that people want to swim especially in hot weather, but we urge people to swim in locally approved swimming areas,” said Colonel Jason Batchelder. “Finding a safe swimming area is easy in most communities. Just ask in a general store or any other place where people gather. “
The fine for swimming in an access area is $ 162.