News from the DNR Office of Communications

NRP And Rita's Italian Ice Say "Be Cool, Wear-It"

Annapolis, Md. (May 25, 2010) – The Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) have teamed up with Rita’s Italian Ice to promote the wearing of life jackets while boating.

Throughout the year, NRP Officers will be giving away coupons to kids wearing life jackets. These coupons are good for a free Rita’s Italian Ice at any Rita’s location in Maryland. Also, coupons will be given out wherever the “Wear-it, Maryland” truck is on display.

“We are pleased to have Rita’s Italian Ice as a sponsor for this important message about boating safety. The wearing of life jackets is the single most important tool in preventing boating deaths,” said Colonel George F. Johnson IV, Superintendent of the Maryland Natural Resources Police.

Today, life jackets come in a variety of styles, sizes and colors. Boaters are no longer expected to wear the old, ugly, orange life jackets of the past. Even the children today enjoy wearing life jackets with Spider Man, Sponge Bob, the Princesses and many more exciting designs. The adults can use the increasingly popular inflatable life jackets which provide comfort along with safety.

Last year, Maryland had 16 fatal accidents, resulting in 17 deaths, up from a 5-year average of 12 fatal accidents. NRP reports that 16 of the 17 victims were not wearing life vests. Alcohol and drugs were a contributing factor in 7 of the fatal boating accidents.

Boaters are reminded that a new law was signed by Governor Martin O’Malley on April 13, effective immediately, that requires children under 13 to wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) while underway on a vessel under 21 feet in length. This legislation helps in protecting children while on the Maryland’s waterways.

Additionally, if a child is under 4 years of age, the life jacket must be equipped with an inflatable headrest collar for added buoyancy, a web handle for gripping and a strap that is secured between the child’s legs to fasten the front and back of the jacket together. This strap prevents the jacket from slipping off the child.

For more information on safe boating in Maryland, visit the DNR website:

   May 25, 2010

Contact: Sgt. A.A. Windemuth
410-260-8003 office | 410-713-8449 cell

The Maryland Natural Resources Police is the enforcement arm of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). With an authorized strength of 247 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