Top Ten Tips for Safe Boating

Boat Accident

The weather many of us have waited for—boating weather—has finally arrived. And with it arrives the risks of that most pleasurable of pastimes on the water. But how many of us think about anything beyond the excitement of getting our craft back out? Safe Boating Week, which runs from May 21 to 27, is meant to make you think. The National Safe Boating Council, which sponsors the week, promotes the use of life jackets and provides information regarding their usage. Wearing a life jacket really is the easiest and likeliest way to stay alive while out on the water should an accident put you in the drink. U.S. Coast guard statistics reveal that, in 2014, the reported cause of death in over three-fourths of all boating fatalities was drowning. And, of all those drowning victims, a staggering 84 percent did not have on life jackets. Common Causes of Boating Fatalities During 2014, 610 deaths happened out on the water, registering a slight increase over 2013. Of the contributing factors to accidents, the top five were: Alcohol usage. This is the leading factor in over one-fifth of all deaths, where the primary cause was known. Excessive speed. Operator’s lack of attention.[…..]

BUI? Don’t You Mean DUI?

BUI

The summer boating season is underway! So many opportunities abound in Maryland for fun on the water. But, while you’re having a good time, keep in mind that alcohol and water never mix. In an effort to cut down on BUI—boating under the influence—Operation Dry Water will be observed nationwide from June 26 to 28 in 2015. The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) partners with the U.S. Coast Guard every year to observe Operation Dry Water. It was created to be a BUI awareness and enforcement campaign that is intended to decrease the numbers of alcohol-related boating accidents. In 2013, the U.S. Coast Guard reported 236 boating accidents where alcohol was the contributing factor. As a result of those accidents, there were 187 injuries and 75 fatalities. Operation Dry Water (ODW) traditionally focuses on alcohol awareness during the weekend immediately preceding the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Nationwide during the 2014 ODW campaign, 4,952 citations were handed out, with 318 arrested for BUI. In the Chesapeake Bay area, officers arrested nine boaters for BUI, handed out 87 tickets, and checked 674 vessels for safety. Why the Focus on BUI? Boating under the influence is ODW’s focus for[…..]

Wear It!

Life Jacket While Water Skiing

Summer is the time when many of us like to go boating. But remember, every time you are out on the water, make sure you “Wear It!” Wear your life jacket, that is. Always wearing your life jacket was the focus of this year’s Safe Boating Week (May 16-22, 2015) and also the focus of the yearlong North American Safe Boating Campaign. The campaign is co-sponsored by the National Safe Boating Council and the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Safety Division. The Wear It! campaign aims to educate people about the necessity of life jackets and the different varieties of life jackets, in an effort to reduce drowning fatalities. In 2014, drowning was the reported cause of death in 78 percent of all boating fatalities, according to U.S. Coast Guard ‘s statistics. Of those drowning deaths, 84 percent did not have a life jacket on. Obviously, we could greatly reduce drownings if people would simply wear their life jackets, and wear the right kind of life jacket for them, while boating. What Kind of Life Jacket Do I Wear? Choosing the right life jacket for you and all your boat’s passengers can be a little intimidating. We’ll take this step by[…..]

Alcohol And Water Don’t Mix

Water Safety

Maryland, with its access to the Chesapeake Bay, offers exceptional boating, a fact appreciated by the owners of the 200,000 boats registered in the state. Boats are vehicles, subject to laws for safe operation on the waterways just as cars and trucks are subject to laws concerning their operation on the highways. Regrettably, some people view their boat as a personal party barge, consuming large quantities of alcohol while navigating. This is in violation of the law, just as drinking and driving a land-based motor vehicle is against the law. If you operate a boat in Maryland, you are deemed to have consented to take a chemical test for intoxication if you are suspected of boating while under the influence. You may be prohibited from operating a boat for up to a year if you refuse to submit to the test or if you are found to have a blood alcohol content of .08 or above. And that’s in addition to other penalties the court may impose. First-time offenders face a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail. Second- and third-time offenders are subject to fines of $2,000 and $3,000 and up to two years[…..]

Tips for Avoiding Maryland Boating Accidents this Summer

With the arrival of summer, Maryland residents and visitors will be spending a lot of time outdoors by boating or swimming. While it may be easy to forget about safety when enjoying a day of boating, it’s important to always follow a few simple safety tips in order to prevent accident or injury. If you plan on boating this summer, keep these tips in mind to stay safe: Boating Lessons – Before setting out on the open water, learn how to safely operate the boat you will be driving and prepare for possible hazards by taking boating lessons. Avoid Alcohol – Not only is boating under the influence unsafe, but it is also illegal. Boat operators found to be BUI (boating under the influence) may be arrested, fined, imprisoned, or even lose boating privileges. Watch the Weather – Rain, high winds, or thunderstorms can create dangerous conditions when boating. Always check the weather forecast before departure. Always Wear a Personal Floatation Device – A PFD or life jacket is essential when out on the water in case of falling overboard. Adults as well as children should always wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket to prevent drowning.

MD State Delegate Donald H. Dwyer, Jr. Drinking While Boating, Accident Injures Six

According to a news report by The Baltimore Sun, Del. Donald H. Dwyer, Jr. was recently involved in a serious MD boating accident that injured six people, including four children. The Maryland lawmaker was piloting a speedboat on the Magothy River in Anne Arundel County when his watercraft collided with a vessel full of children, leaving three of the child passengers to be treated and released for minor cuts, bruises, and one broken arm. The fourth injured child, a five-year-old girl, was thrown from the craft during the aquatic collision and suffered a fractured skull. The MD delegate admitted to drinking alcohol while he was operating his 27-foot Baja, named The Legislator, and appeared before reporters at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center to tell them his blood alcohol level was 0.2, which is more than twice the legal limit for operating a boat. Dwyer stated he “deeply regrets [his] actions and asks for your forgiveness,” adding that his thoughts are with the others injured in the collision. At present time, a police sergeant with the Maryland Natural Resources Department said investigators will need weeks to reconstruct the accident and are awaiting blood tests to confirm whether Dwyer was boating under[…..]

Operation Dry Water Campaign Targets BUI This Weekend

Summer has finally arrived and so has the Maryland recreational boating season. Boating is a great social opportunity to get together with friends and family and just relax and have fun. But, too much fun can potentially ruin your entire summer. Boating under the influence (BUI) has been gaining notice in recent years as a serious problem. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there were 330 boating accidents in 2010 that involved alcohol-use. These accidents resulted in 293 injuries and 126 fatalities. In order to decrease these numbers and to educated the public about the dangers of BUI, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), along with the states, U.S. Coast Guard, and other organizations, launched Operation Dry Water, which is in effect June 24-26. According to OperationDryWater.org, Operation Dry Water focuses on BUI enforcement and education each year during weekends before 4th of July. Last year, 322 BUI arrests were made and 4,171 citations issued during the Operation Dry Water campaign. During Operation Dry Water, there will be more marine patrols as well as extensive BUI sobriety testing, including breathalyzer tests and blood tests. Marine patrol officers can also test boaters in a seated position, thanks to[…..]

Maryland Boy Killed in Jet Ski Accident

An 11-year-old boy from Springettsbury Township recently died as a result of his injuries from a jet ski accident earlier this month, according to the York Daily Record. The boy was jet skiing in the Irish Creek and stopped on his jet ski. While he was stopped, he was struck by a 12-year-old boy who was with him at the time. He was airlifted to the hospital with brain injuries and tragically died later. The 12-year-old was not injured. Jet skis can be much more dangerous than other types of watercraft, primarily because the rider is exposed. Some typical injuries to jet ski riders include chest or head trauma, drowning, spinal cord damage, carbon monoxide poisoning, and broken bones. One major problem with jet skis is that they lack braking ability, and while jet ski drivers are coasting to a stop, they tend to lose the ability to steer. Some of the primary causes of Maryland jet ski accidents include operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, steering loss and speeding. Jet skis can be especially dangerous for children. In Maryland, it is illegal for anyone under age 16 to operate a personal watercraft. According to the Coalition of[…..]

Police Looking for Boaters in Boat and Run Accident

The Maryland Natural Resources Police are searching for a boat that was involved in a hit and run boating accident that occurred near the Chesapeake Bay at Thomas Point, according to The Baltimore Sun. A powerboat traveling at about 40 knots hit the stern of an anchored sailboat, knocking the sailboat’s owner into the water and breaking both of his legs in the boating accident in Maryland. The man said he attempted to avoid the collision by diving underneath the surface of the water but the boat stuck both of his legs. He was rescued by Natural Resources Police officers who jumped into the water as he started to sink beneath the surface. NRP officers are looking for a white 21 foot Donzi speedboat, which carried a couple in their 30s or 40s. Under Maryland law, boaters are required to travel at safe speeds and to have a lookout. According to statistics, most boating accidents in the United States are caused by collisions. In 2007, there were 1,329 boating accidents that were caused by collisions. Those accidents killed 66 people and injured 953. One of the most typical causes of a collision is the failure to keep a proper lookout.[…..]