Boat safety bill to clarify prohibition of dangerous bow riding
Following the death of a 9-year-old boy who was killed last summer in Ocean City after he fell off the bow of a pontoon boat and was hit by the engine's propeller, emergency legislation has been introduced in Maryland in the hopes of preventing an accident like that from happening again.
Delegate Mary Beth Carozza has introduced a boating safety bill that would build upon and clarify current safety regulations prohibiting people from riding on a motorized boat's bow with limbs dangling over the edge. State Senator James Mathias has introduced a companion bill in the Maryland Senate.
The way the current regulations stand, riding on the bow is already illegal in Maryland, though the way the law is worded could be confusing for people with little knowledge of boats.
"I think between clarifying the regulations and working with the community on communication that we'll be able to prevent some of the accidents we experienced last summer," Delegate Carozza said. "The legislation is narrowly crafted and only applies to motorized vessels and exempts sailboats and other non-motorized vessels."
The new legislation would also not apply to vessels that are anchoring, mooring or making a fast dock to another vessel. Law enforcement and firefighting vessels are additionally exempt.
Delegate Carozza hopes to get the bill passed before boating season picks up in May.