News from the DNR Office of Communications

Maryland Natural Resources Police Stress "Safety" During the Fourth of July Weekend

Annapolis – July has historically been the month in which the greatest number of boating accidents occur both in Maryland and nationwide. In an effort to educate boaters and keep the boating public safe, the Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) will increase their presence on the state’s waterways and parks this Fourth of July holiday.

Last year there were 176 boating accidents reported statewide, 57 of which occurred in the month of July. The major causes of boat accidents are faulty equipment, operator inexperience, operator inattention, excessive speed, and reckless or negligent boat operation.

Boaters are reminded to report unsafe activity or emergencies to the NRP at 1-800-628-9944.

Above all, boaters are asked to always wear a lifejacket and to avoid operating a vessel after drinking alcohol. Boater awareness is critical to safety -- when out on the state’s waterways, be aware of:

  • Your ability to operate a vessel. The sun, wind and sea conditions, as well as the consumption of alcohol, cause fatigue and ultimately limit a person’s ability to operate a vessel safely.
  • The capabilities of the vessel. Vessels vary in their design and abilities; just like vehicles, they can respond differently when placed in similar situations.
  • Weather conditions. Be aware of existing weather advisories before embarking on any boat trip, and keep in mind conditions can change without warning. Do not try to outsmart Mother Nature.
  • Maryland boating laws. Pay attention to all signs and speed limits, safety equipment and distance requirements.
  • Your physical surroundings and how they relate to other boaters. Boat operators are responsible for the safety of their passengers.

Citizens enjoying Maryland's state parks this holiday can do their part by being respectful and mindful of not only their surroundings, but also other park visitors. Park patrons alone can help keep these natural and historical resources pristine by observing the following:

  • Follow the “Leave No Trace” outdoor ethics. In other words, pack it in, pack it out!

  • Fires are permitted in the fire rings or grills provided. Fires must be attended at all times.

  • Fireworks or other explosive or combustible devices are prohibited.

  • While driving in the parks, please watch out for pedestrians and wildlife. Drive gently!

More information on boating safety, fishing regulations and park information can be found at the DNR web site

   July 3, 2009

Contact: Sgt. Art Windemuth

The Maryland Natural Resources Police is the enforcement arm of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). With an authorized strength of 249 officers and a dedicated staff of civilian and volunteer personnel, the NRP provide a variety of services in addition to conservation and boating law enforcement duties throughout the State of Maryland. These services include homeland security, search and rescue, emergency medical services, education, information and communications services on a round the clock basis. NRP is the only police force aside from the Maryland State Police that has statewide jurisdiction.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries, and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic, and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority.  Learn more at