Coast Guard, partners prepare for annual Canal Days event

BALTIMORE – The U.S. Coast Guard, Maryland Natural Resource Police (MNRP) and the Cecil County Sheriff’s Department will be ramping up efforts at Chesapeake City’s annual Canal Days event to ensure safety among the participants.

The surge in law enforcement personnel, both on the water and on land, will begin an around the clock presence in Chesapeake City, Md., starting Tuesday through Sunday to maintain order and to provide a safe environment for party goers.

“The Coast Guard, along with our partner agencies, will be actively patrolling the basin on the water and on foot to make sure that that partying does not get too out of hand, and as with all of our operations, safety of the attendees and that of our crews, is paramount,” said Lt. Josh Blocker, from Coast Guard Sector Baltimore’s Response Department. “It’s definitely a huge undertaking, but based on the size of last year’s crowd, it’s best to err on the side of caution,” Blocker said.

Enforcement teams will be keeping a look out for boaters operating their vessels under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“The laws pertaining to the operation of a vessel, in relation to the legal alcohol content, are identical to that of driving a vehicle,” said Sgt. Ken Turner, public affairs officer for MNRP.

Deputies from the Cecil County Sheriff’s Department will also be targeting traffic and parking violations as well as open container laws.

“Anyone caught with open containers of alcohol will be cited,” said Lt. Bernard Chiominto, Cecil County Sheriff’s Department public affairs officer.

Additionally, swimming in the boat lanes, anchoring in the C&D Canal and stand up jet skis in the canal are all prohibited. Also prohibited are water balloons and water balloon launchers, which include multi-person slingshots, pneumatic cannons and high pressure water hoses.

As a matter of safety, all boaters should have enough Coast Guard approved flotation devices for everyone aboard their vessels.

Last year the Coast Guard responded to six medevacs, two near drownings and multiple intoxicated boaters during the event.

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