It’s the middle of the summer. July and August are traditionally the worst months for boating accidents in Maryland. In 2013 there were 14 boating fatalities in Maryland. The worst day of the week for boating is, not surprisingly, Saturday. With one of our past legislative representatives, Don Dwyer, in the last few years receiving a boating while intoxicated (3 times the legal limit) offense and a 7 year old girl tragically being killed at a Maryland boat race earlier this summer, it is as imperative as ever to think about boating safety.
Here are some boating safety tips to consider:
- Check on the weather conditions. If a summer storm is expected, consider staying on land.
- Let friends and family know you are boating and where you will be boating
- Put on your lifejacket and make sure your boat has enough life jackets on it. (Insufficient lifejackets or personal flotation devices is the most cited offense by Maryland Natural Resource Police. At the very least save yourself a ticket, and at the most save you and your passenger’s life, and make sure you have enough PFDs on your boat.)
- Don’t drink and boat. Boats are considered motor vehicles under Maryland law. A (too) high percentage of boating accidents involve alcohol and drugs.
Remember the basic Maryland boating laws:
- As mentioned above, do not drink and boat. You could kill yourself or someone else. It is analogous to a DUI in Maryland. Contact an Annapolis DUI lawyer for more information.
- All persons born on or after July 1, 1972, are required to have a certificate of boating safety It education in order to operate a motorized vessel in the state of Maryland.
- Personal watercraft (PWC) operators (i.e. Jet skis) must be at least 16 years of age.
- The certificate of boating safety must be kept on the person at all times while operating. Penalties are in effect for those who fail to present the certificate to an officer upon request.
- Your boat must have a personal flotation device for all riders.
- You must have your registration in your possession if pulled over on the water.
- You must have a sound device (i.e. a horn).
- You must obey speed limit signs.