As summer winds down and locals head outdoors to enjoy Labor Day, officials are reminding people to use extra caution and stay safe during the holiday weekend.
“Labor Day is the beginning of fall,” said Col. George F Johnson IV of the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) in a press release. “And as the cooler weather sets in, Marylanders will continue to enjoy camping, boating and fishing in the cooler September weather, and, as various hunting seasons begin. We urge everyone to make safety the top priority while enjoying these activities.”
NRP will reportedly step up its enforcement during the holiday weekend to help maintain safe waterways, especially when it comes to activities that contribute to boating accidents—such as alcohol, negligent operation, bow riding and navigational violations.
In addition, NRP advises people to be aware of the weather with the remnants of Hurricane Isaac moving up the coast: "Boaters should be aware of possible high tides, debris in the waterways and the possibility of missing or misplaced navigational aids. Inspect all vessels for any damage, debris or water on board before leaving the dock."
The Coast Guard also asks the boaters to monitor weather broadcasts: Forecasts can be heard by tuning in to channels 1 through 5 on a VHF marine radio or by checking the National Weather Service website.
In addition, the Coast Guard reminds boaters to always wear life jackets, file a "float plan" with friends or family members, and keep a working VHF radio and Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon on board since cell phones are not always reliable.
For more information on safe boating practices, see the Coast Guard's website.