NAPLES — The Naples Marine Patrol is seeing more boats on the water and inexperienced drivers at the helm, but with a second boat in its arsenal, Harbormaster Shawn Hebert said an increase in traffic of more than 20% over last year can soon be addressed.

The Naples Marine Patrol’s primary boat. Naples Marina is working on refurbishing a second boat. Courtesy of Shawn Hebert

“With that (increase in traffic) comes people that can be inexperienced … and with that we need to have greater enforcement presence and availability for emergencies,” said Hebert, who estimated the increase and could not provide exact numbers for the uptick in boating traffic.

Although there haven’t been many accidents on the water, Hebert said the department is seeing a lot of speeding violations, as well as “imprudent” boating, such as high speeds close to the shoreline, towing tubers or skiers through restricted channels and bow riding. With the pandemic, Hebert said his department is also seeing a lot of unregistered boats, which he thinks can be attributed to owners erroneously thinking that the governor’s moratorium on motor vehicle registration extends to boats.

Last year, Selectmen passed two ordinances that gives the Marine Patrol limited law enforcement authority and powers, including issuing summonses and citations.

From April 1 to Nov. 15, 2019, the department issued 44 tickets for speeding and there was one nonemergency boat crash. As of July 7 this year, there have been no nonemergency boat crashes, but eight instances that required an emergency response, compared to six in all of last year. There have also been six assists from other departments or agencies, compared to 12 last year. The department has issued 16 citations for speeding so far.

The Marine Patrol covers from the Bridgton town line down to Sebago. Its scope includes Long Lake, Brandy Pond, Songo River, Trickey Pond, Muddy River, Bay of Sebago and the northern end of Sebago Lake.


Besides the Marine Patrol, the Fire Department has one boat in the area, but only serves as a first-response agency, not law enforcement. The Maine Warden Service also patrols Sebago Lake.

Another reason a second boat is important is because it can be moored on Long Lake, while the second vessel stands ready on a trailer, Hebert said, which greatly reduces response times.

As it stands, if there is an emergency on Trickey Pond, which is a standalone body of water, the boat has to be pulled from Long Lake, hitched to a trailer and then launched at the pond.

Hebert said the Marine Patrol hadn’t planned on acquiring a second boat until it came time to replace their primary one, likely in a few years. But when the Naples Fire Department purchased a new boat of its own, the Marine Patrol was able to purchase the department’s old one, a rigid-hulled inflatable, for $6,000.

Deputy Harbormaster Dough Bohannon has spearheaded an effort for in-kind donations from local businesses to refurbish the boat, which Hebert hopes will be ready to launch by this August at the latest.

The vessel was acquired in 2019.

Sabre Yachts in Raymond has refurbished the hull, Superior & Supply Co. in Bridgton donated supplies and Naples Marina is outfitting the boat with updated parts. The Marine Patrol also purchased a $10,000 part that Naples Marina is installing. The $16,000 project was taken from a capital improvement replacement program; none of the funds came out of the department’s operating budget and additional donors would be welcome.

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