Before you get the boat trips and fishing excursions started, you may want to refresh yourself on some of the laws set forth by the Maryland Natural Resource Police.
Image from Maryland Natural Resource Police
Maryland Natural Resource Police
Keeping You Safe on Ocean City’s Waterways
Every summer, millions of beachgoers flock to Ocean City’s sandy shores for some much-needed relaxation. Before you get the boat trips and fishing excursions started, you may want to refresh yourself on some of the laws set forth by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. These laws are enforced by the Maryland Natural Resource Police (NRP).
“Our main goal is to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time when visiting the town and resort waterways,” says Maryland NRP sergeant Matthew Corbin.
Sgt. Corbin and his fellow NRP officers patrol Ocean City’s waterways, as the agency has been for over a century. In 2018, the Maryland NRP celebrated its 150th anniversary, making it the fourth oldest state conservation law enforcement agency in the country. In 1868, the “State Oyster Police Force” was tasked with controlling pirate ships plundering Chesapeake Bay oyster bars. Today, the Maryland NRP enforces fish and wildlife laws and regulations, patrols the land owned/controlled by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and protects Maryland’s recreational boating community.
In Ocean City specifically, the Maryland NRP act as a safeguard for the boating community through education, enforcement and outreach. Officers often do proactive patrols to make sure boats are equipped with the proper safety equipment—especially life jackets—and that boaters are operating in a safe and responsible way.
“We’ll do courtesy safety boat inspections, where we’ll go through everyone’s boat and just make sure they have all the required safety equipment,” Sgt. Corbin says.
One of the biggest safety concerns in Ocean City is the use of life jackets and other personal floatation devices (PFD). Sgt. Corbin says they’re the easiest way to stay safe and potentially save your life. The Maryland NRP even have a life jacket exchange program allowing you to switch out a PFD that’s not in serviceable condition.
The Maryland NRP in Ocean City also participate in outreach programs, especially during summertime. You can find NRP officers at public boat ramps, on the water and around town during your time in Ocean City.
“A lot of people here are on vacation and may not be fully aware of all the rules and regulations that are in place in Maryland,” says Sgt. Corbin.
If you see an officer, don’t hesitate to say hello and ask any questions you may have. Sgt. Corbin says he and his officers are there to assist you and make sure you have the best time possible on the water in Ocean City.