Stay out of the boat’s most deadly seat, Md. leaders caution

SANDY POINT STATE PARK, Md. — During boat safety week, Maryland leaders are stressing the importance of riding inside the boat and not on its bow.

The chances of someone being severely injured or killed rise dramatically if they sit at the very front of the vessel, rescuers said. In fact, it is as dangerous as riding on the hood of a car, said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Sara Wallace.

It’s called bow riding — riding on the very front of a boat — which is exactly where 9-year-old Kaden Frederick was sitting when he was swept under and killed in Ocean City last year, Wallace said.

“A typical propeller operating at 3,200 RPSs can make 160 cuts per second. It can travel from the head to the toes in less than a tenth of a second. The results are horrific,” Wallace said.

The “Ride Inside” campaign launched during boat safety week is a product of the partnership between the U.S. Coast Guard, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and other Maryland agencies to raise awareness to the risk passengers take when they bow ride.

“You leave yourself no way of getting out. You fall off the front of the boat, you’re going to get hit by the boat,” said Chief Allan Graves with Anne Arundel County Fire and Rescue.

Pontoon boats are the most popular boats to bow ride, Wallace said, but are also the most dangerous because of the way the pontoon boats direct the water underneath them: It’s nearly impossible to avoid being struck by the propeller.

“It doesn’t take the boat hitting something or an aggressive maneuver to cause someone to fall in. Just the feet hanging over the edge, the water hitting the feet, it can grab and cause that person to go off balance and cause them to fall into the water,” Wallace said.

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