DNR Reminds Boaters and Swimmers of Safe Practices for Independence Day
Annapolis, Md. (June 29, 2012) – With the Fourth of July nearing, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Natural Resources Police (NRP) are urging citizens and visitors to be extra vigilant in and on the water for the holiday and throughout the summer.
“We want everyone to be able to enjoy the wonderful recreational opportunities our State has to offer, on water and land, to the fullest,” said Superintendent Colonel George F. Johnson IV. “But the importance of safety while boating and swimming cannot be overstated and must be a number one priority while enjoying Maryland waterways and State Parks.”
Last year, Maryland experienced an unusually high number of boating deaths. Over the summer, NRP will focus their enforcement efforts on those activities that contribute to boating accidents, such as alcohol, negligent operation, bow riding and navigational violations.
NRP recommends that swimmers stay within designated swimming areas with lifeguards on duty whenever possible. Lifeguards keep all swimmers informed of any changes in water conditions and are trained to respond if an emergency occurs.
NRP also offers the following swimming safety tips:
- When swimming outside guarded areas, obey all warning signs that alert swimmers to dangers and be aware of any surrounding signs or markers that indicate current water conditions.
- Never swim alone or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Pay special attention to small children and use safety devices such as life jackets on children or other individuals who cannot swim.
- Carry a cell phone or have other ways of contacting emergency personnel if a situation arises.
If an emergency occurs, immediately call 911 and remember to Reach, Throw, Row and Go:
REACH the person in trouble by extending a releasable item, such as a pole, line or rope to pull them to safety ─ but not by hand, as the rescuer could quickly become another victim.
THROW an object that floats to the victim if they are unreachable. Life rings, PFDs, coolers or plastic jugs are suitable floating objects that can keep a troubled swimmer afloat until rescuers arrive.
ROW to the victim using a canoe or any other safe watercraft. The rescuer must wear a life jacket. Once the victim is nearby, a rope or paddle should be extended and used to tow the victim to shore if possible.
GO to the victim by entering the water as a last resort and ONLY if properly trained. The rescuer should bring an object to keep the victim afloat and to prevent being pulled under.
More information on boating safety is available at dnr.maryland.gov/boating/safety.