Last year there were 344 boating accidents reported in Maryland waters. In those accidents, 20 people died. Next Sunday, National Safe Boating Week opens, and several organizations have scheduled activities to promote more responsible boating.
Take a minute and think about boat use. How often does it include packing the cooler with beer or mixers and running up that jaunty cocktail ensign?
Take another minute and realize that of the 344 boating accidents in Maryland waters last year, 50 percent involved alcohol abuse by operators or crew.
Maybe there is something to this safe-boating business.
The Department of Natural Resources has scheduled a Boating Fun Fest at Sandy Point State Park June 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The program is designed to teach families about rescue operations and procedures, personal flotation devices, preventive maintenance and emergency repairs.
There is no admission charge. Water taxi service will be available for those who wish to come by boat and anchor out.
For more information on the DNR program, call (301) 974-7617.
The Dundalk Power Squadron will sponsor a safe-boating program Saturday in the Inner Harbor across from the USS Constellation. The activities will include demonstrations by marine police units, the city fireboat and the United States Coast Guard.
Also included will be a demonstration of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation by the American Red Cross, visual distress flare use by the Olin Flare Company, and righting a capsized small boat.
The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 13-03, will be at Boat/US Marine Center, 6863 Loch Raven Blvd., Towson, each Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., offering courtesy marine examinations of private boats.
The program will last through June 4, with a special session scheduled June 7. The CME is not regulated by the USCG or the Marine Police; it is intended only to advise boat owners of the operating condition of their craft.
Boats that meet federal and state standards receive a seal of safety.
The Outdoor Adventure program of the DNR State Forest and Park Service has scheduled overnight canoe trips for experienced paddlers Saturday and next Sunday, and June 15-16. The trips will originate in Green Ridge State Forest in Allegany County.
The trips are planned to cover 12 miles per day through a special wildlands area of the Potomac River. A fee of $60 is required to cover the cost of meals, transportation and canoe rentals. Call Green Ridge State Forest in Flintstone at (301) 777-2345.
On June 8, Rags, The Magazine and Katcef Brothers/Anheuser Busch will hold a cruising sailboat race to benefit the Chesapeake Bay Trust. The race will run from the sea wall at the Naval Academy in Annapolis to the mouth of the West River. The start is set for noon.
After the race, a party will be held at the West River Sailing Club in Galesville. The $6 entry fee will cover race entry and drinks. Proceeds will be donated to CBT bay restoration grants program.