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Coast Guard Officials Remind Maryland Boaters Of Safety Tips Ahead Of Memorial Day

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Thousands of Maryland boaters could be on the water this year for Memorial Day Weekend and for many of them, it will be the first time since the Pandemic started.

Although boaters are eager to return to the waters, the Coast Guard wants to remind everyone to stay safe and vigilant.

Four out of five eported causes of death in 2019 involving boating fatalities were because of drowning, a number that could easily be avoided.

Earlier this month, 4 people were rescued after a 30-foot boat capsized near the Bay bridge. Officials said a good samaritan spotted flare sightings.

"We have multiple different radios so all these radios can be used to reach every coast guard access, different search and rescue facilities in case you're ever in any distress," said Ofc. Donald Abey, Coast Guard Station Curtis Bay.

Officials listed these key things to remember before heading out onto the water:  Check your vessel to make sure it's running well and that 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.

"They have multiple different marine radios nowadays - some portable and some that can be fixed to your boat but as long as it's VHF, and you can get channel 16, that's what you need," said Abey.

The Coast Guard says 86 percent of drowning accidents in 2019 were of people not wearing their life jackets.  There is also the risk of alcohol.

"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," Abey added.

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