Thousands of Maryland Boaters can safely return to waters just in time for Memorial Day.
- All right, we may or not be a little jealous, but thousands of Maryland boaters could be out on the water this year for Memorial Day weekend.
- Yeah, many of them will be out there for the first time really since the pandemic started. Hard to believe. Max McGee spoke with the Coast Guard though to know how you can stay safe during the holiday.
MAX MCGEE: Hello, everyone. Captain Max aboard the 45661 RB-M in Baltimore. Now of course, everybody wants to be out in the water for Memorial Day weekend but it's important to do the necessary steps in order to get there. Four out of five reported causes of death in 2019 involving boating fatalities were because of drowning and of course, that's a number that can easily be avoided. Earlier this month, four people were rescued after a 30 foot boat was capsized near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Officials say a good Samaritan spotted flare sightings.
- All clear.
- All right. Everybody aboard.
MAX MCGEE: Welcome aboard the 45661 RB-M from the US Coast Guard mid-Atlantic. These guys make sure we stay safe out on the water.
DONALD ABEY: We have multiple different radios. So all these radios can be used to reach different Coast Guard assets, different search and rescue facilities, in case you're ever in any distress.
MAX MCGEE: Right here are the major keys-- check your vessel to make sure it's running well and your safety equipment is there. You can also reach out to the Coast Guard Auxiliary for free inspections. Also, know the number you can call for help.
DONALD ABEY: They have multiple different marine radios nowadays. Some portable and some that can be hard fixed to your boat. But as long as it's VHF and it can get channel 16, one six, that is what you need.
MAX MCGEE: The Coast Guard says 86% of drowning accidents in 2019 were of people not wearing their life jackets and then there's the risk of alcohol.
DONALD ABEY: Stay sober out there. Boating under the influence is just as dangerous as driving under the influence. You will get a fine. You will go to jail for the night and more than likely, your boat will be confiscated.
MAX MCGEE: May 22 to the 28 is National Safety Boating Week and that's not it. Today is actually National Wear Your Life Jacket To Work Day. Remember, safety is fun. I'm Max McGee, reporting for WJZ.