Maryland Natural Resources Police remind Marylanders to practice water safety

Maryland’s boating and swimming season is in full swing and the Maryland Natural Resources Police is urging Marylanders to take proper precautions to ensure safe enjoyment of Maryland’s waterways this summer.

So far this year, Maryland Natural Resources Police have responded to more than five boating-related deaths and eight non-boating related drownings, including four fatal incidents during the July 4 holiday weekend.

“Maryland is one of the nation’s leading destinations for summertime water recreation,” Maryland Department of Natural Resources Secretary Josh Kurtz said. “With the increased enjoyment of our waterways, state parks, rivers, and streams, it is essential that residents and visitors adhere to safety protocols and regulations that keep our recreational waterways safe and enjoyable for everyone.”

The Department of Natural Resources offers a number of online safety resources, including online Boating Safety Courses, State Regulations for Recreational Vessels, and Swimming Safety tips.

Natural Resources Police and Park Rangers urge boaters and swimmers to adhere to state and local boating laws, follow water safety protocols, be cautious, and use common sense when enjoying recreational activities on Maryland’s waterways.

Boaters can be safer on the water by wearing life jackets that fit properly, not drinking alcohol, and by following speed and navigation rules. Swimmers in and visitors to lakes, rivers, and streams should avoid fast-moving water, take extreme caution when stepping on wet and slippery rocks, avoid swimming alone, swim sober, and stay far away from hazards such as dams or waterfalls.

Visitors to our state parks and other recreational facilities are reminded to avoid areas where swimming or boating is strictly prohibited.

“Public safety remains our agency’s main priority, and to ensure safety, officers will be conducting boating safety patrols in addition to engaging waterway users in conversations and education,” said Maryland Natural Resources Police Captain Catherine Medellin.