May is Safe Boating Month
May is Safe Boating Month
Maryland Waterway Users Get Ready
Maryland’s boating season is fast approaching and Maryland Natural Resources Police are encouraging Marylanders to take the necessary precautions to keep waterways safe and slow the spread of COVID-19.
In 2020, Maryland recorded 155 reportable boating accidents; 64 of these crashes resulted in injuries and six were fatal, resulting in a total of seven fatalities. Those numbers are down from the previous year, when Maryland recorded 144 reportable boating accidents, 65 personal injury accidents and 16 fatalities resulting in 20 fatalities.
“Spring is synonymous with boating season – and I’m one of the thousands of Marylanders who want to get out on the water,” said Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. “In view of the heavy traffic expected on the waterways, it is essential that we adhere to all the rules, regulations and courtesies that ensure the safety and enjoyment of boating for all.”
It is recommended that boaters not only follow safe boating practices, but continue to monitor COVID-19 tips for outdoor recreation.
“Public safety is our agency’s top priority, and to ensure safety officers will be on the boating safety patrol in addition to engaging our waterway users in conversation and education,” said the superintendent. from the Maryland Natural Resources Police, Col. Adrian Baker.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources offers boating safety course online and will begin offering in-person classes in May. PNR reserve officers will also perform routine safety checks to ensure boaters have all the required equipment on board to be safe in the water. Officers will wear personal protective equipment and take all necessary precautions to protect boaters and themselves from the transmission of COVID-19.
The Maryland Natural Resources Police, along with the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Safe Boating Council, offer these boating safety and social distancing tips during the 2021 season:
- Always wear a US Coast Guard approved life jacket.
- File a flotation plan with a family member or friend with details of your trip in the event of an emergency.
- Bring all required boating safety equipment like flares, fire extinguisher, horn or whistle, first aid kit, disposable life jackets, rope, etc.
- Check the navigation lights before you leave.
- Never sail under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Avoid boat distractions and travel at safe speeds.
- Have more than one form of communication that works when wet.
- Download the US Coast Guard app and the Maryland AccessDNR app for easy reference information on Maryland’s waterways.