Sebec Lake Hazard Markers
Sebec Lake has a long history of the hazards being marked dating back as far as 1901 when the Maine State legislature appropriated $250 to be used by the steamboat inspectors to place buoys 'at such points in Sebec Lake as will best serve the needs of navigation thereon.' Little is known about the early marking of hazards in the lake or where specific buoys were placed but it is interesting to note that this effort took place on Sebec at such an early time in the State history.
After its formation in 1971, the Lake Association began investigating the possibility of placing and maintaining hazard markers around the lake in places where boating hazards had been identified by the camp owners on the lake. However, it took until 1975 for markers to actually be installed at the locations identified by camp owners and staff from the Department of Conservation. The buoys were placed and maintained by the Sebec Lake Association from 1975 until 1988, when it was deemed that the potential liability to the Lake Association was considerable, and the Maine Department of Conservation took over the responsibility of placing the markers, which continues today. The four person Navigational Aids Program, headed by Tim Thurston, Navigation Aids Supervisor is part of the newly merged Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, Boating Facilities Division. The Nav Aids Program currently places and maintains more than 2,400 buoys on 40 lakes located all over Maine to assist watercraft operators in avoiding hazards to navigation during the summer season.
The criteria utilized by the DOACF for placing a marker include:
1. The hazard is located beyond the 200' Water Safety Zone from the shore towards the middle of the lake; typically hazards within the Water Safety Zone are not marked except for channels or when hazards are determined to be in high traffic areas.
2. The hazard is covered by less than 4' of water at expected low water during the boating season. For Sebec, the boating season is considered to be from ice-out to mid-October and 'low water' is considered to be 3 feet below the target level of 322 feet (above sea level).
Each marker has its location identified by GPS coordinates and has a contact phone number on it to report problems. Since different markings (coloration configuration) have different meanings, it is important that boaters become familiar with the meaning of each type of marker. It is suggested that a copy of the pictorial guide to buoy markings
be printed out to carry on the boat until such time as you are familiar with the various markings.
During summer 2013, the department reviewed all markers placed on Sebec Lake, adding additional markers as necessary and removing those which no longer meet the criteria above.
If you have downloaded Google Earth program to your computer, the Nav Aids staff has put together a Google Earth application
displaying all markers for which they are responsible, including Sebec Lake. It is even possible to download the coordinates to the buoys and transfer them to your personal GPS for use on the water.
If you have a question about a missing or moved marker, or a suggestion for placing a new marker, contact one of the Sebec Lake Association Board members by email
. It will be helpful if you have specific location information identifying landmarks, nearby roads or, even better, GPS coordinates. The Board member will then contact the Boating Facilities Division and provide them with a list of potential hazards to be considered for future marking.