Operation Osprey will aggressively target boaters operating in a reckless or negligent manner and/or under the influence of alcohol on the waterways
ANNAPOLIS As Marylanders prepare to take to the state's waterways this holiday weekend for the traditional start of the boating season, the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) urge boaters to exercise caution on the water this summer. To ensure public safety, NRP will be conducting an extensive 24-hour enforcement effort statewide entitled, Operation Osprey.
Operation Osprey will aggressively target boaters operating in a reckless or negligent manner and/or under the influence of alcohol on the waterways. It will also focus on boaters not maintaining a proper lookout or having the required safety equipment onboard. Meanwhile, patrols in the parks and forests will target underage alcohol possession and individuals driving under the influence of alcohol, as well as those who do not practice proper fire safety or who litter in trash-free areas.
"Throughout the Memorial Day holiday I will personally lead the men and women of the Maryland Natural Resources Police in patrolling Maryland waterways and public lands." said Col. Mark S. Chaney, Superintendent of the NRP. "We will aggressively enforce Maryland's laws and regulations to prevent accidents and save lives."
NRP also recommends that boaters continue to use common sense and take extra precautions during this busy holiday weekend. Boaters can help ensure their safety and the safety of others enjoying Maryland's waterways by:
· Wearing an approved and properly fitted personal flotation device (PFD) at all times while aboard. Nationwide, 70 percent of all boating fatalities are the result of drowning. Almost 90 percent of the victims were not wearing PFDs.
· Knowing and obeying navigation rules, operating at a safe speed and maintaining a proper lookout.
· Staying in control of your vessel and respecting the right of others enjoying the waterways.
· Ensuring that your boat is never overloaded.
· Leaving a float plan with someone at home describing where you are going, who you are with, and when you expect to return.
· Remaining sober and alert remember the use of alcohol contributes to accidents on the water.
During 2005, the leading causes of boating accidents were the result of wake, improper lookout or operator inattention. Additional frequent causes of accidents included negligent/reckless operation, excessive speed and inexperience. There were 14 boat accident fatalities on Maryland's waterways last year, nine of which were the result of capsizing or falls overboard.
For more information on safe boating in Maryland, visit the NRP website: http://www.dnr.maryland.gov/nrp/boatingsafetyedu.html