Memorial Day marked the unofficial beginning of boating season in Maryland and elsewhere. Every weekend for the next few months, thousands of people will be out on the water across the state whether it’s Deep Creek Lake, the Chesapeake Bay or the Atlantic Ocean off Ocean City and Assateague Island. But the summer boating season is also certain to suffer its customary share of accidents and fatalities — most if not all of which are preventable.
This loss of life associated with recreational boating is surely among the most frustrating statistics in public health because it’s so avoidable. In many ways, it mirrors the daily carnage on the nation’s roads — with irresponsible behavior, including the boating equivalent of drunk driving and speeding, among the chief culprits. But arguably it’s worse. Americans take to the roads and expose themselves to the inherent risk out of necessity. Boating is a luxury. There’s absolutely no reason why people need to be placed in harm’s way if everyone behaves prudently.
Take, for example, life jackets, more properly known as personal flotation devices. Under Maryland law, children under the age of 13 must wear them while any vessel is underway, and that includes not just motorboats but sailboats, canoes, kayaks and rowboats. Yet in cases of drowning, what percentage of victims were found not to be wearing one? According to the U.S. Coast Guard, that would be 84.5 percent. That’s a problem, particularly given that about three-quarters of boating accident fatalities involve drowning.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) have announced $787,520 in federal funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for the Glendale Access Road project in Garrett County.
These funds will be used for intersection and roadway improvements on Glendale Road and will ultimately improve access to the Deep Creek Lake area — supporting local tourism and job creation.
“Investing in safe and convenient roads throughout Garrett County will make sure that Deep Creek’s tourist industry benefits the region’s economy more broadly,” said Senator Cardin. “ARC has been a reliable investor in the future of Western Maryland, and I will remain a strong advocate.”
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (both D-Md.) have announced $12.03 million in federal funding for the Garrett County Airport and Hagerstown Regional Airport through the Department of Transportation.
Garrett County Airport was awarded $6.63 million, while Hagerstown will receive $5.40 million. The grants will be used to fund repairs and improvements to the airports’ runways, including the construction of taxiway extensions.
“Small airports are important hubs for connecting communities and businesses throughout Western Maryland,” said Cardin, the senior Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee’s Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. “I am pleased by this federal investment and will continue to fight for much needed improvements to all of Maryland’s transportation infrastructure.”
McHENRY — The Daniel E. Offutt III STEM Center was formally dedicated Saturday morning at Garrett College, with college, county and state officials praising the late Oakland native and philanthropist for his enduring commitment to STEM education.
“The Offutt Trust endowment is just the latest gift Mr. Offutt has provided Garrett College,” said Don Morin, chairman of the Garrett College Board of Trustees, in reference to the $2 million STEM endowment provided late last year by the trust. “Speaking on behalf of the Garrett College Board of Trustees, I want to express our appreciation for the continued commitment to Garrett College and STEM education that Mr. Offutt’s estate gift represents.”
The college is authorized to use the income generated by the endowment equally for STEM scholarships and STEM equipment upgrades and faculty development.