While there is no official start to the boating season, one can tell warmer months are coming as more and more boats appear out on the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean.
Enjoying our waterways in a variety of craft – whether paddled, sailed or motor-powered – is one of our state’s oldest and most popular recreational pursuits. It’s also an activity that bears great responsibility to maintain the safety of boaters, passengers, and bystanders.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources works very closely with our community partners to assure these goals are met each and every boating season.
As part of its commitment to clean water, enjoyable and – most importantly – safe boating, our department provides assistance to public agencies in the removal of abandoned boats and debris from state waters. We provide essential funding for the creation or enhancement of public boating access points throughout the state. We also ensure buoys are properly marked and placed to ensure safe navigational channels.
The department also maintains many access points on our state-owned lands and parks, along with the only marina owned and operated by the state, Somers’ Cove Marina, in Crisfield.
In order to promote environmentally responsible boating, we work with our state’s boaters and more than 500 marina owners to promote the Maryland Clean Marina Initiative. This initiative provides information and materials to ensure clean operations, which is verified through a certification process.
And through the dedication of our Natural Resources Police, we patrol the waters of the state to ensure safety measures, like speed zones, are observed. One of the primary charges of the force is boating and water safety enforcement, as well as training. Safety is everyone’s responsibility.
Along with following appropriate speed laws, wake zones and wearing lifejackets, boaters are reminded to “Ride Inside.” Never allow passengers to ride on the bow, gunwale, seat backs, transom, or other spots on a boat where they might fall overboard. Bow riding is unsafe and illegal!
To stress these and other tips, we’ll observe National Safe Boating Week May 21-27, just in time for the Memorial Day weekend. Look for events throughout the state, including some that feature our very own Splash, the Water Safety Dog.
Here’s to an enjoyable and safe boating season!
Mark J. Belton
Natural Resources Secretary
580 Taylor Ave, Annapolis MD 21401