Brightside: Boating safety Q.R. code

QUEEN ANNE’S CO., Md. – One Maryland family is turning a tragic loss into a lifelong mission to keep boaters safe and give them the best experience while on the water, and it’s all with a QR code. “We felt that this would serve as a reminder and the information would be absolutely valuable to share with boaters the dangers of boating on the Chesapeake Bay,” says Dave Ash, one of the founders of ‘Inspired By Hannah.’

Dave Ash and Sarah Lawrence are both dedicated to providing boaters with the safest and most joyful boating experience possible. They turned the tragedy of losing a loved one after a boating accident into a mission of safety and prevention with a simple Q.R. code. “During COVID, I saw a QR code on a restaurant table and I’m like wow can’t we hook this up with real-time information at ramps to show people the tide cycles for that day,” says Ash.

A hot pink sign with a blinking light is giving boaters the tools to successfully sail the waters. Before boaters pull out of the dock, they’re able to take out their smartphone, open their camera, and just scan a code. “We’ve got all free NOAA tides, weather-free charts. We’ve also got the Maryland fishing regulations guidelines and we have a link to our safety resources on our Tow Jamm Marine page,” says Lawrence, a Captain with TowBoatUS.

Ash and Lawrence developed this resource which is now located at five different boat ramps. Lawrence tells us, that checking the tides and weather before you go can sometimes mean the difference between life or death. “Tides can change on the Chesapeake from a foot and a half to three feet, the tides here in the Kent narrows are going to be very different than the tides in Annapolis or even the tides in Salisbury,” says Lawrence. Ash adds, “Regardless of where you are on the bay or the Eastern shore or wherever, we think it’s a valuable resource to have as far as the tide guide sign.”

Ash tells 47 ABC, that this is just one project from his family’s non-profit ‘Inspired by Hannah’ created after his daughter passed. Their mission is to help women and boaters like Ash’s late daughter, to remind them just how quickly tides change on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. “We don’t want boaters to take anything for granted, we want them to be prepared before they push off the dock,” says Ash.

Ash and Lawrence say this is just the start of a movement of keeping boaters safe, while still enjoying the water. “We hope that this is going to be in more areas, more counties, we hope that the effort is going to expand,” says Ash.

Lawrence also says wearing a life jacket at all times while on the water is essential. Both Lawrence and Ash are working with different counties in Maryland to get their Q.R. code and guide them onto every boat ramp.

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