Almost a dozen people have died in boating accidents this summer already. The Maryland Natural Resources Police says it has been inundated with distress calls on the water and is being extra vigilant for lawbreakers.
Officials told WMAR 2 News this could be one of the deadliest summers for boaters. Police are upping patrols, but are relying on boaters to make smart choices.
"The main thing is to make sure that everybody has safety equipment on the boat such as flares, life jackets, throw rings," said boater, Steve Reed.
Reed is the commodore of Sue Haven Yacht Club. For him, safety is always the main concern.
"Make sure your VHF radio is working properly so if you do need assistance and always let somebody know where you’re going. If you leave your marina, let somebody know where you’re going, what your destination is," said Reed.
And know the rules—it’s a privilege to boat on this waterways.
"Most people who have been raised on the water, they’re brought up are taught the rules of the water sometimes its just a little too easy for people to go out and get a boating license and have absolutely zero experience."
So far this year there have been 11 boating deaths. The Maryland Natural Resources Police says it's not taking any chances. It plans to up patrols especially on weekends. Last year, nine people died in boating accidents and 2015 saw 21 boating deaths; trend officials don’t want to see again. Reed said a big part of safety is an experience.
"If you’re going to get a boat, start off small, get to know the boat and then progressively move up, don’t just because you got the money go out and get something you can afford because you probably won’t be able to handle it."
Joe Hollar has been boating for 35 years.
"People just need to be educated, I would like to see there be a statewide license."
He told WMAR 2 News that he sees people boating recklessly more than he’d like.
"They just run too fast in rivers, they don't have any respect for other boats, you’re responsible for your wake where its 6 mph or not, you throw a wake, you’re responsible for that wake."
And responsible for obeying the laws of the water.
"It's crazy because it’s just like the street laws, you have to have a license to drive a car you should have a license to drive a boat," Hollar said.
Drinking and boating is also a major concern, especially during holiday weekends. Natural Resource Police says July and August are the deadliest months on the water. You can expect to see extra patrols all summer.