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NRP Urges Boating Safety this Holiday Weekend

jim writes ticket

NRP Officer Jim Robinson writes a boat violation ticket

The Maryland Natural Resources Police reminds boaters, anglers and paddlers that conditions on many State waterways remain unpredictable this holiday weekend, with some high water levels, missing navigational markers and debris posing unexpected hazards.

Officials are warning boaters and paddlers to be aware of two major logjams on the Monocacy River in Frederick County, one of which almost claimed the life of a kayaker. The obstructions are at the Gas House Pike Bridge and a CSX railroad bridge. Paddlers are urged to walk with their kayaks and canoes around the obstructions.

Swollen rivers and streams partially blocked by downed trees and tangled limbs are a recipe for disaster, creating obstructions called “strainers” that can trap paddlers and lead to drownings or serious injuries.

NRP warns that last week’s heavy rains may have created similar, unreported obstructions in rivers and streams across the State and urges paddlers to proceed with caution.

Officials say all speed limit buoys on the Upper Potomac River at Dam 4, Dam 5 and Williamsport are in the process of being repaired or replaced after last week’s powerful current washed them downstream. Boaters should use caution in those areas.

The public is reminded that river travel involves risks. Water and boating safety should be of utmost importance. Remember to:

Wear a lifejacket. In an emergency, seconds count. You don’t always have time to reach for a lifejacket.

Have flares and a VHS marine radio aboard.

File a float plan. Let someone know where you are going and when you’ll return.

Stay sober. Don’t put yourself or others at risk.

For the latest information on Potomac River conditions between Cumberland and Little Falls, call the National Weather Service at 703-996-2200. For more tips, visit