State warns that fishing access areas not safe for swimming

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department reminds the public that fishing access areas are not safe for swimming because of boating activity.

Swimming near a fishing access also is illegal and can result in a fine of up to $162, officials said.

The main use of fishing access areas is launching and retrieving motorboats. Vermont Fish & Wildlife maintains 190 developed fishing access areas on lakes and rivers throughout the state.

“It’s great that people want to get out in the water, but a boat ramp is not the right place to go swimming,” said Mike Wichrowski who oversees the Fishing Access Area program. “There’s a reason motorboats aren’t allowed in swimming areas, and swimming isn’t allowed at fishing access areas – it’s simply not safe.”

Fish & Wildlife regulations prohibit certain uses of fishing access areas including, but not limited to swimming, littering, camping, picnicking, making a fire, parking of vehicles not related to priority uses, and commercial activity.

Vermont game wardens often respond to incidents involving people swimming at fishing access areas. In some cases people, including children, are swimming at the boat ramps while boats are being launched, risking injury or preventing the launching of boats.

“We understand that people want to go swimming, especially during hot weather, but we are urging folks to swim at locally approved swimming areas,” said Vermont Chief Game Warden Colonel Jason Batchelder. “Finding a safe swimming area is easy in most communities. Just ask at a general store or other place where people gather.”

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