For the third time in less than three weeks, searchers have recovered the body of a drowned canoeist in Maine.
Divers searching Panther Pond in Raymond, Maine, located the body of 52-year-old Christopher Hughes of Trumbull, Connecticut, Friday morning.
According to the Maine Warden Service, Hughes went canoeing with a friend Thursday night around 10 p.m. He was not wearing a life jacket.
Earlier this week, wardens recovered the body of 38-year-old Jennifer Bousquet of South Berwick, Maine. She was canoeing in the Saco River in Fryeburg, and capsized. She was not wearing a life jacket.
In mid-May, a five-year-old boy died while canoeing with his mother. William Egold was wearing a life jacket, but went over a waterfall and did not survive.
“If you have a bunch of incidents back to back, it can be fatiguing on our divers,” said Maine Warden Service Corporal John Macdonald. “Does it have an emotional and physical toll on us? Yes it does.”
The Warden Service and U.S. Coast Guard are advising paddlers to wear their life jackets, check the weather and water temperature, and tell someone where you plan to paddle.
“Paddling is becoming more and more popular,” said Petty Officer Nicole Groll, a spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard District 1 in the Northeast. “There is a learning curve that people need to understand.”
The Coast Guard reports a rise in recreational boating deaths nationwide, and in the northeast region.
Groll said in 2016, there were 55 recreational boating deaths in the northeast, up 62 percent from 2015. Of those 55 deaths, 29 involved a paddle craft, and 45 involved a lack of life jacket.
“We want people to enjoy the water, and we want you to come home to your families,” said Groll.