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Maryland Natural Resources Police Kicks Off Safe Boating Week
ANNAPOLIS — On the eve of what hopes to be a safe, enjoyable holiday weekend on Maryland waters, the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) today kicked off their National Safe Boating Week and Maryland’s corresponding observance, May 21-27 to highlight the need for boaters to wear a life jacket at all times while on the water.
“When you boat in Maryland, remember to BOAT SMART FROM THE START! Boating education and awareness are essential to safe boating practices,” said Col. Mark S. Chaney, NRP Superintendent. “Remember to wear your life jacket.”
NRP officers and boating safety educators demonstrated a variety of activities to reiterate the importance of safe boating by:
- Capsizing two small vessels, one with occupants in life jackets and one without.
- Demonstrating the ease and convenience of wearing a lifejacket by modeling and offering members of the media an opportunity to try a variety of new lifejackets on,
- Demonstrating the proper equipment essential for a safe boating season.
- Offering ride-along with NRP as they patrol the Chesapeake Bay.
More than a dozen people die each year in boating-related incidents on Maryland waterways, most of which could have been prevented if a lifejacket had been worn. Last year, the numbers of fatalities in Maryland stayed the same as 2003 (13), while the numbers of injuries went from 107 to 142. Records show that the majority of accidents are the result of operator inexperience, inattention, and improper lookout, followed closely by wake and speed.
Nationwide, there were 3,888 injuries and 703 fatalities resulting from boating-related accidents in 2003. Eighty-six percent of those drowning victims were not wearing life jackets.
NRP will be conducting a special operation this Memorial Day weekend to increase safety on the waterways of the state as well as in state parks and forests. Operation Awareness will aggressively target boaters operating in a reckless or negligent manner and operating under the influence of alcohol on the waterways. Patrols in the parks and forests will aggressively target underage alcohol possession and driving under the influence of alcohol. Operation Awareness will also focus on boaters not maintaining a proper lookout and not having the required safety equipment onboard. Officers will be looking for fire safety and individuals who litter in trash free areas.
May 24, 2005
The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) is an enforcement arm of the Department of Natural Resources. With an authorized strength of 285 officers and a dedicated staff of civilian and volunteer personnel, the Natural Resources Police provide a variety of services in addition to conservation and boating law enforcement duties throughout the State of Maryland. These services include homeland security, search and rescue, emergency medical services, education, information and communications services on a round the clock basis. NRP is the only police force aside from the Maryland State Police that has statewide jurisdiction.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 446,000 acres of public lands and 18,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 11 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov