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Md. officials stress importance of life jackets after boating fatalities

“We have had nine boating fatalities so far this year, which ties last year's total,” said Maryland Natural Resources spokesperson Candy Thompson. (iStock/Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON — This year’s boating season is off to a tragic start in Maryland. So far, there have been several boating fatalities, including two men from Silver Spring who died this weekend after a boating accident along the Potomac River in Charles County.

“We have had nine boating fatalities so far this year, which ties last year’s total,” said Maryland Natural Resources spokesperson Candy Thompson. “We average about 13 boating fatalities a year. So we are a little concerned that we are approaching that average at this point with still a lot of summer left to go.”

Thompson said the season had a jolting start with four fatalities in April.

There were fewer in May, but Thompson said there’s concern because “this has been the fourth weekend in a row where we’ve had a fatality.”

Since the start of the 2017 boating season, there have been 18 deaths.

Thompson said none of those victims was wearing a life jacket. Looking back five years, she said there have been 82 boating fatalities since the start of the 2013 season. Of those deaths, only nine victims wore life jackets.

“Statistics don’t lie. If you don’t wear a life jacket, you don’t give us time to come rescue you,” she said.

Thompson said wearing a life jacket is the best line of defense.


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