TYNGSBOROUGH — As spring weather brings sunnier days and warmer temperatures, Chief Richard D. Howe and the Tyngsborough Police Department wish to remind residents to act safely and responsibly when visiting lakes, ponds and other bodies of water.
“As warmer weather arrives people will be excited to be boating, kayaking, and canoeing, or to begin opening their pools for the season,” Chief Howe said. “But bodies of water can be extremely dangerous if you aren’t acting responsibly, and we urge all residents to follow these safety tips.”
The Town of Tyngsboro is home to three large bodies of water:
- The Merrimack River is a popular spot for canoeing, kayaking, rowing, and power boating. The river provides quickwater and flatwater for canoeists and kayakers and is one of the largest surface water bodies in the region for power boating.
- Lake Mascuppic, located in Tyngsborough with a Massachusetts state boat ramp in Dracut, sees heavy boat traffic in the summer. The Town Beach at Lake Mascuppic is popular for swimming and boating.
- Massapoag Pond, located off Massapoag Road, is heavily utilized for boating, fishing, and swimming.
Under Massachusetts law, operating any vessel under the influence of drugs or alcohol is strictly prohibited. Boaters also are prohibited from operating within 150 feet of public or private swimming areas.
Boaters are urged to operate their vessels at reasonable speeds based upon existing conditions, including traffic density, weather, and visibility. For inland waters, a speed greater than 45 mph is considered excessive.
Under Massachusetts law, boaters under 12 may not operate a motorboat unless accompanied and supervised by an adult. Children under 16 may not operate a personal watercraft. Children ages 12-15 must complete an approved boating safety course to operate a motorboat; children ages 16 and 17 must do so to operate a personal watercraft.
The American Canoe Association offers the following safety tips to kayakers, paddlers, and recreational boaters:
- Always wear a life jacket.
- Children under the age of 12 must always wear a life jacket in a public body of water.
- Be a competent swimmer with the ability to handle oneself underwater, moving water, surf or current. Keep the craft under control. Do not enter a rapid unless you are reasonably sure you can navigate it or swim the entire rapid in case you capsize.
- Keep a lookout for hazards and avoid them. Watch for fog, especially on coastal waters.
- Know your physical limitations.
- Group members need to constantly assess the behavior of others in their group.
For those with their own pools, the Tyngsborough Police Department offers the following safety tips outlined by the American Red Cross:
- Per Massachusetts law, have at least a 4-foot-high barrier that encloses the pool and an access gate that self-closes, locks, and opens outward from the swimming area (even if you do not have children).
- Fasten a safety cover over the pool when it is not in use. Remove ladders to further prevent access. For added safety, install a pool alarm that will sound if anyone enters the water.
- Never leave children unattended while they are near or in a pool, and make sure they have an adult to accompany them into the water. Young or inexperienced swimmers should always wear a life jacket or inflatable arm floats.
- Make sure children stay away from pool drains, pipes, or any other openings to avoid getting trapped or hurt. If a child is missing, always check the pool first.
- Set safety instructions and share them with family, friends, neighbors, or anyone else who is near or uses the pool. Advise children to stay away from pool deep ends, and to always walk, never run, near the pool.
- Take a CPR course for adults and children to be prepared if an emergency occurs. Update skills regularly.