“On a beautiful day like this, who wouldn’t want to be at the park?” said Ranger Erik Ledbetter, Seneca Creek State Park. “Who wouldn’t want to be out on the water? Our phone was ringing off the hooks about when our boating would be back, and now it is.”
Dozens of boating centers across Maryland opened their doors to visitors this weekend, including one at Seneca Creek State Park.
More than 200 kayaks and canoes launched into Clopper Lake Sunday.
“For a lot of people it is such an intimate way to get in touch with nature,” said Ledbetter. “You’re close to the water, you’re out in the stillness, away from moving cars and parking lots.”
“Compared to having spent 30 years sitting in an office, being outside on a beautiful sunny day, and it’s in the 60’s, and the wind is blowing, it’s like heaven,” said John Kurly, Montgomery County resident.
But whether visitors are enjoying the water for nature or sport, safety is on the forefront of the mind for the Department of Natural Resources.
Officials said last year there were 163 reportable boat accidents in Maryland; 113 involved an injury, and 17 involved a fatality.
Park officials are encouraging people to always have or wear a life jacket, keep an eye on the weather and write a “float plan,” including date, name, where and when you’re going out on the water and phone number.
This plan should then be left with a trusted friend who is not going out on the water.
Repairing a damaged boat can cost a pretty penny.
Property damages totaled to nearly $3.4 million from Maryland boating accidents last year.
Natural Resources Police are unveiling a new safe boating campaign next week, which is National Safe Boating Week.