WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – During the summer months, more people are out on the water. That doesn’t necessarily mean more law enforcement is there as well.
At the Washington Waterfront, dozens of boats are out on warm, summer days. However, you’ll seldom see agencies patrolling the waters. Rick Brass, dockmaster at the Washington Waterfront, said he’d like to see a stronger law enforcement presence on the water.
“A large number of people doing very stupid things. And we also get a lot of boats that come here into the docks that lack basic safety equipment when they arrive, and it would be a nice if there was an increased presence to do safety inspections,” said Brass.
“Obviously, I don’t think you can have enough, [especially] in an area like Washington Waterfront,” said Tom Marchisello, of the Coast Guard Auxillary, who added he occasionally sees law enforcement out there, but would like to see more to properly enforce laws. “Too many people die on the water each year and just because we don’t have the proper or enough people to patrol waterways, doesn’t mean we lax the laws.”
9 On Your Side reached out to the Wildlife Resource Commission and they said there are about 210 uniformed officers in the state. Inland officers are often sent to coastal counties that see more boating traffic.
Law enforcement agencies say they will try to make their presence more known starting with the holiday weekend.
The National Wildlife Resources Commission said North Carolina ranks tenth nationally in boating fatalities. Alcohol is the leading cause of boating accidents.