Delaware highways aren’t the only transportation links being watched this weekend. Increased patrols will be out on Delaware’s waterways this holiday weekend to make sure boat operators get a safe start to the summer season.
DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement agents will set up checkpoints and additional patrols to look for excessive alcohol consumption, and check for safety equipment.
Enforcement Chief James Graybeal says boating under the influence can be more dangerous than driving a car under the influence. “It’s very dangerous. You’re in water anywhere between 10 and 40 feet deep and you could lose your life very quickly without even thinking about it.”
Graybeal says the Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest for boating activity. With 60,000 registered boats in Delaware and countless more coming from out of state, he says boaters really need to adhere to the basic safety rules. “Boat smart from the start,” he says. “Wear your life jacket and use common sense.”
In Delaware anyone 12 years of age or younger must wear a life jacket while in a boat. “But we recommended everyone wear one, it’s safer,” Graybeal says.
Recent statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard show the top five primary contributing factors for boating accidents are operator inattention, operator inexperience, excessive speed, improper lookout, and alcohol consumption. Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.