Monday, January 02, 2012

Boating Deaths Up In Maryland. Way Up

Old Line State is home to highest number of boating fatalities in nearly 20 years...

How were your holidays?

For the families of 25 people who died in boating accidents in Maryland in 2011, the holidays were probably not so good. Maryland recorded the highest number of boating fatalities since 1992 according to the Baltimore Sun, which suggested that the state's Natural Resources Police are calling for tougher boating regulations.

We're not trying to bring you down. We just want to see more boaters boat safely and survive to boat another year...

More Laws?
The Sun article states that officers of Maryland's Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have lobbied their state's General Assembly for tougher boating regulations. Maryland is already one of the growing number of states that requires boat operators to have passed a boating education course. In Maryland, the law states that anyone born on or after July 1, 1972, must possess a certificate of boating safety education in order to operate any motorized vessel. Would there have been even more tragedies in Maryland waters this past year if this requirement wasn't in place?

Less Weather? 
The Sun article also pointed out that great boating weather was experienced early and often in MD in 2011, providing an opportunity for more boaters to be out on the water earlier than usual and throughout the season. And as we look at the number of boating accidents around the country each year, we know that statistically more boaters equals more chances for accidents. Just ask perennial list-toppers Florida, California and Texas (2010 boating fatalities by state).

Being Safe on the Water
What can you do to be a safer boater in 2012, and live to boat another year? You can start with the Top Ten Tips for Boating Safety provided to us last summer from the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Are more boating regulations the answer? Do you boat safely, with or without having taken a boating course? Your suggestions and comments are welcome.

* Photo Courtesy of The U.S. Coast Guard.

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