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Maryland Natural Resources Police Respond to 15 Boating Accidents this Holiday Weekend

Partners with U.S. Coast Guard for Operation Dry Water

For the second consecutive year, the Fourth of July holiday ended without a boating fatality, the Maryland Natural Resources Police reported.

Statewide there were 15 boating accidents, an increase of three over 2016, and officers arrested 12 boaters for operating under the influence of alcohol, the same number as last year.

The most serious boating accident occurred in Ocean City Saturday when a Kawasaki personal watercraft struck the Route 90 bridge around 4:30 p.m.

Yash Bhargava, 28, of Cumberland, Rhode Island, was taken to Atlantic General Hospital with head and internal injuries and then transferred to Peninsula Regional Medical Center for additional treatment. His passenger was not injured.

Bhargava was cited for negligent operation and operating in excess of 6 knots within 100 feet of a structure.

From June 30 through July 2, the department’s police unit teamed up with the U.S. Coast Guard for Operation Dry Water, a 9 year old national campaign to crackdown on impaired boating. Saturation patrols focused on high-traffic areas and traditional hot spots. Since its inception, the campaign has resulted in 82 arrests.

Officers issued 526 citations during the holiday, a 6.2 percent increase over 2016. Tickets were issued for violations such as: exceeding the 6-knot speed limit, insufficient number of life jackets, a lack of boat safety equipment, and exceeding crabbing and fishing limits.

The Maryland Natural Resources Police is responsible for patrolling state parks and other public lands. During the July Fourth holiday weekend, officers were in contact with 8,138 visitors. In addition, officers conducted 2,153 free vessel safety inspections and checked 3,709 recreational anglers, 1,549 crabbers and 224 watermen.