I appreciated your paper’s coverage of the tall ships festival, especially the photos.

Although I had bought two days’ tickets well in advance, I was not able to get aboard a single ship. Why? In near 90-degree heat and high humidity, the organizers were confiscating water at checkpoints.

After waiting on a long line, I was ordered by a volunteer to drink the small bottle of water I had or discard it. Ahead of me I could see another line the length of the pier, barely moving, waiting to board the Picton Castle.

I asked why I had to dispose of my water, saying it was a health and safety hazard to stand in the sun for a long time without it. The volunteer’s answer? “That’s the rule.” I left.

I then contacted the festival’s organizers through Facebook for a more substantive explanation. They said it was “for security reasons,” and that water was available inside the checkpoints to replenish bottles emptied at entry points.

I did not hear that told to people at the checkpoint, and nobody I spoke with had seen water stations.

I find it ironic that in a state that now allows concealed carry of weapons without permits, safety training or background checks, a 64-year-old woman with an 8.5-ounce clear plastic bottle of water is considered a potential security threat!

I am hardly insensitive to security concerns – I was living and working in New York on Sept. 11 and saw the first tower collapse in front of my eyes.

I strongly believe, however, that organizers of events should use rational, not reflexive, thinking when assessing risks, and offer actual explanations to their paying customers for their decisions. “That’s the rule” is simply insulting.

Ellen D. Murphy

Portland