Maryland Natural Resources Police Urge Caution on the Water - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Maryland Natural Resources Police Urge Caution on the Water

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. - With 19 water-related fatalities already recorded for the year, the Maryland Natural Resources Police is urging people to use caution on the water this Labor Day weekend.

Officers will be patrolling the state's waterways and will have an enhanced presence in all 66 State parks, from Deep Creek Lake to the Atlantic Ocean.

Last Labor Day weekend, NRP officers responded to 10 injury-causing boating accidents. They arrested seven people for operating a boat while impaired by alcohol or drugs and 11 people for other criminal acts. They also wrote 365 tickets, issued 995 warnings and inspected 1,300 vessels.

“Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer as tens of thousands of residents and visitors head out on the water, relax in our State's parks and campgrounds, and begin early hunting seasons,” said Colonel George F. Johnson IV, NRP superintendent. “Plan ahead and be vigilant. We need everyone to do their part.”

Johnson has directed officers to continue targeting reckless or negligent boaters and those under the influence of alcohol. The maximum penalty for operating a vessel while impaired by alcohol is a $1,000 fine and a year in jail for the first offense.

NPR has issued the following reminders for anyone planning on boating or swimming:

- Wear a lifejacket and have a flotation rescue device available

- Check weather and tides before heading out

- Swim near a lifeguard

- Never boat or swim alone or while impaired

- Don't fight a rip tide

- Supervise small children

- Obey all warning signs and obey lifeguards

- Carry a cell phone or have other ways of contacting emergency personnel

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