NewsRegionAnne Arundel County


Natural Resource police urging boaters to be safe

Posted at 7:49 PM, Apr 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-20 19:49:18-04

As of the month of April, four people have died on Maryland's waterways.

"And if we stay on that pace, 2018 will be remembered as the worst boating season in almost 3 decades," says Ken Ziegler.

Ziegler is the superintendent of the natural resources police. He says all four victims had something in common. 

"None of them were wearing a life jacket. All four victims were near shore and potential rescue. A life jacket could have bought them time until help could arrive."

You don't have to look far for an example of how wearing a life jacket could be the difference between life and death. Last Wednesday a kayaker went in the water in the West River. He WAS wearing a life jacket.

"He had been in the water for 3 hours. Without that life jacket, there is no way he would have stayed above the water and been available for rescue."

An added problem is the water temperature. The water temperature at the Bay Bridge right now is 49 degrees, that's 10 degrees cooler than this time last year.

"First of all as soon as you hit it you're gasping for air. You start to lose your coordination, being able to grasp for something to try and get back in the boat or if someone tries to throw you a line. Those capabilities start to diminish rather quickly. Most people are unconscious within 10 minutes."

Wearing your life jacket is essential. DNR police say not wearing a life jacket is like not having your seatbelt on in a car. You can't try to put your seatbelt on in the middle of a car accident. 

"You might fall and bump your head or even in an emergency if water is coming over the boat and you panic, you think you got all your motor functions, if you have your life jacket on that's just one less thing you have to worry about," said Corp. Chris Neville, Patrols Maryland waterways for the Natural Resource police. 

Saturday is the beginning of Rockfish season in Maryland, one of busiest days on the water.