Coast Guard, partners prepare for annual Canal Days event

5th Coast Guard District News
BALTIMORE – The Coast Guard, Maryland Natural Resources Police and the Cecil County Sheriff’s Department will be ramping up efforts at Chesapeake City’s annual Canal Days event in support of Operation Dry Water to ensure safety among the participants.

The purpose of the operation is to create awareness of the consequences that boating under the influence has and reduce the number of alcohol-related accidents and fatalities through a partnership between the Coast Guard and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

The surge in Coast Guard law enforcement personnel will begin Friday and end Saturday in Chesapeake City, Md., 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 to ensure a safe and secure marine environment for all participants during the event,” said Lt. Brook Zagar, the Enforcement Division chief at Coast Guard Sector Baltimore. “The safety of all event participants and emergency responders is the priority during an event like Canal Days.”

Enforcement teams will be keeping a lookout for boaters operating their vessels under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

“Maryland’s blood alcohol limit is the same for operating a vessel as it is for driving a vehicle,” said Sgt. Art Windemuth, the public information officer for NRP. “The penalty for operating a vessel under the influence is one year in jail and a $1,000 fine for the first offense.”

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 balloon launchers, which include multi-person slingshots, pneumatic cannons and high pressure water hoses.

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

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