Thursday, December 01, 2016
Carozza Advocates for Strengthening Boat Safety Regulations
OCEAN CITY – In light of the serious boating accidents that occurred in local waters this past season, Delegate Mary Beth Carozza (District 38C) is advocating for changes to Maryland’s current boat safety regulations aimed at increasing safety for Maryland families and visitors.
In a letter to the Department of Natural Resources’ Maryland Boat Act Advisory Committee, Carozza wrote in support of a proposed change to COMAR regulation 08.18.01.05, which pertains to operating a boat in a negligent manner. This proposed change would define bow riding on a boat and would specify that bow riding is a separate offense.
Carozza’s letter, in which she also supports a new boat safety campaign to inform and educate Maryland residents and visitors on the safe operation of boats and jet skis, is attached to this press release in its entirety. The Boat Safety Act Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday, December 1, at 10 a.m.
November 29, 2016
Maryland Boat Act Advisory Committee
Department of Natural Resources
580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21401
Dear Maryland Boat Act Advisory Committee Members:
Thank you for this opportunity to share my strong support for changes proposed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to clarify and strengthen current boat safety regulations. In my role as a member of the Maryland General Assembly and being raised in Ocean City, I am committed to using my public role to improve the safety on our waters for our Maryland families and visitors.
I understand that Natural Resources Police officials will present options to the members of the Boat Act Advisory Commission at your December 1, 2016, meeting which would clarify the COMAR regulation 08.18.01.05 pertaining to operating a boat in a negligent manner. The Natural Resources Police proposed regulation change would define bow riding on a boat. This would specify bow riding on a boat as a separate offense. Currently, bow riding is subject to a citation for operating a boat in a negligent manner but bow riding is not specified.
It should be noted that the Natural Resources Police, local boat captains, and operators of boat and personal watercraft rentals believe and agree that the current boat safety regulations pertaining to negligent operations on a boat should be clarified and strengthened to identify bow riding as dangerous. I am encouraged that the proposed regulations have been discussed with industry professionals and addresses their observations and experiences on the water.
In light of the serious boating accidents that occurred in local waters this past season, including the death of a child, there is a sense of urgency to move forward with the revised regulations and put them into effect as soon as possible.
Along with strengthening the current bow riding regulation, improving boat safety will depend on a robust public communications strategy to inform and educate Maryland residents and visitors of the proper operation of boats and personal watercraft rentals. Like the successful “Save Yourself!” pedestrian safety campaign with the Crab the Lifeguard in Ocean City, Maryland families and visitors would benefit from a similar boat safety campaign which could include public service announcements, social media and visual coverage in key public locations.
Finally, I also wanted to let you know of my interest for possible future changes to the current boat education requirements. I understand that the Natural Resources Police along with their Safety Education Section have begun to work with livery operators statewide on adopting a uniform approach to boat/personal watercraft renter examinations in an effort to improve overall safety on our waters. I am looking forward to hearing more from DNR officials on the progress being made in the area of strengthening Maryland’s boat education requirements.
Again, I am grateful for your allowing me to share my strong support for the proposed changes to strengthen Maryland’s boat safety and bow riding regulations, and urge you to approve and expedite these commonsense DNR regulations.
MARY BETH CAROZZA
at 12/01/2016 01:30:00 PM