Boating Safely Around Delmarva - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Boating Safely Around Delmarva

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OCEAN CITY, Md. - Spending time out on the water is just one of the many reasons Maryland's Eastern Shore is so attractive.

But, a bashed jet ski on the dock outside Waterways and Bayside Boat Rental is a grim reminder that as people flock to the water, someone is injured or killed in a boating accident every 2.5 hours.

"There are only so many officers down here and they can only do so much," said Chad Cutlip, owner of Bayside Boat Rentals. "They do a great job but we're on the water all the time, non-stop, and I just see people breaking the law all the time."

According to U.S. Coast Guard data, open motor boats were most often involved in boating accidents in 2012, followed by closed cabin boats and personal water crafts.

But the numbers didn't scare away Jessica Beard and her husband, who came out for a day on the bay.

"This is the first time I'll ever be on a jet ski," Beard said. "It's something new we're trying."

 She says she's not too worried about boating accidents, adding that a lot of it has to do with making smart choices - including drinking and boating.

"You do see stories like - who was the politician that was drunk driving on the boat," she asked.

It was Don Dwyer, a Maryland delegate sentenced in October for a drunk boating accident that injured six people.  No one was killed in that incident, but alcohol was a factor in four of the 11 boating deaths in 2012.

Most of the accidents that with injuries, not necessarily deaths, happen in July in both Maryland and Delaware.  But no matter what time of year they occur, some say they could be avoided with a little common sense.

You should wear a life jacket.  Drowning was associated in seven of those 11 deaths. And, you should keep a safe speed.

"A boat going fifty plus, you hit a sand bar going that fast, people are going flying," Cutlip said.

National Safe Boating Week runs May 17 - 23. For more information on boating safety, visit the National Safe Boating Council here: www.safeboatingcouncil.org  and the U.S. Coast Guard at http://www.uscgboating.org.

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