Casco man donates lifesaving device to game wardens

By Corporal John MacDonald

Maine Game Warden Service

Casco resident John Curtis has been an avid snowmobiler for decades here in Maine.

John is married with two adult children, a son and daughter, and works as a project manager for Clean Harbors Environmental Services. John and his family have snowmobiled together since his children were young, often in the Sebago Lake region.

John clearly remembers two situations where he and his family had close calls unexpectedly operating close to open water. One of those frightening times was on Sebago Lake. John had his then young son riding with him, and his daughter was with his wife on her machine. While snowmobiling, they suddenly found themselves riding next to open water. Luckily, they were able to quickly divert their course and avoided going into the water. With well over 100,000 snowmobiles and ATVs registered here in Maine, it’s likely that hundreds of snowmobilers have experienced similar situations, some of them not being so lucky.

Last week, John Curtis and his family donated a Nebulus inflatable raft to the Maine Warden Service. His goal was to provide game wardens with an additional tool to help them survive an unexpected plunge through the ice while on patrol. The benefits of the Nebulus device go beyond just protecting game wardens; its compact size and mobility means that it could help save someone else’s life too. The Nebulus will be part of Game Warden Peter Herring’s tool kit, carried with him while operating the Warden Service airboat and while patrolling on bodies of water either on snowmobile or ATV. The design allows the manually deployable raft to be connected to a snowmobile or ATV. If you find yourself going through the ice, a handle is pulled and the raft deploys. The raft can keep afloat 1,000 pounds, enough for a couple of people as well as their ATV and/or snowmobile. Additionally, the Nebulus can quickly be deployed in a variety of other circumstances, where a raft can aid in getting to someone stranded in open water.

The cost of a Nebulus is about $600, a price John Curtis was happy to pay to help save lives. An Internet search on the Nebulus results in countless stories where the device had been deployed to save people across the country. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife would like to thank John Curtis and his family for this most generous donation.

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