DNR Police to focus on boat safety

May 05, 2007|By Capital News Service

Boating season is just getting started, but Ocean City is already dead center on the radar of Maryland boating police.

The area is among the "big three" to watch this year, said Sgt. Ken Turner, spokesman for the Maryland Natural Resources Police, which oversees state boating safety. It joins Garrett County's Deep Creek Lake and the area surrounding Anne Arundel County's Sandy Point State Park boat launch as the areas with the highest number of boat crashes.

Last year, the boating police mimicked state trooper strategies to crack down on violations around the "big three," a strategy they plan to bring back in force after an overall reduction in boating accidents last year.

"We're going to put the pressure on, just like the Maryland troopers did, putting up roadblocks and whatnot, just apply them to the marine area," said Lt. Chris Richardson, area commander for the Natural Resources Police.

The Ocean City area's 29 recreational boating accidents were more than 15 percent of Maryland's total in the summer of 2005, the latest available U.S. Coast Guard records show. But that total was down 24 percent from the year before.

Last year in Ocean City and in the Deep Creek Lake area, helicopter patrols surveyed the area on busy weekends. Unmarked police boats also called in violations.

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