The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will ask state lawmakers to strengthen life-preserver laws in light of a high number of boating fatalities this year.
The proposed bill is part of a three-bill package designed to enhance safety on the water. The other bills involve boater-safety certification and drunken boating rules.
The life-preserver bill would increase the age at which children are required to wear a life jacket. Currently, children younger than 7 are required to wear one; the new legislation will require that of children younger than 13.
If passed by the General Assembly, the legislation would bring Maryland up to speed with 34 other states, says Capt. Robert Davis from the state Natural Resources Police. Most states have the requirement for children younger than 12 or 13, he says.