PASADENA, Md. (WJZ) — Another boater dies on the Chesapeake Bay. Fatalities on Maryland’s waterways are rising this year. The latest victim is a 63-year-old Pasadena man who fell overboard and never resurfaced.
Rick Ritter with the mounting concerns from police.
We’re still in the heart of summer and more than a dozen people have died in boating accidents. With another weekend of warm weather ahead, police say they’re bracing for the worst.
One rescue boat after the other canvassing the Magothy River. It’s a scene that’s become all too familiar across Maryland.
The call came in just before 8 a.m. Friday. Police say 63-year-old Ronald Gressitt was crabbing with family when he stumbled and fell overboard.
His wife tried desperately to help, but couldn’t get him afloat.
“He went below the surface and never resurfaced,” said Candy Thompson, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Police.
Gressitt’s loved ones tell WJZ he was a family man and an avid O’s fan.
With another weekend of warm weather, police say they’re bracing for the worst.
Friday’s tragedy marks the 15th fatality on Maryland waterways, surpassing all of last year with weeks of summer still left.
Last Saturday, two women were killed in a late night accident near the Key Bridge.
In June, a seven-year-old girl was struck and nearly killed by a speed boat.
“It’s horrible,” said Pasadena boater, Patrick Thomas. “These things can be prevented.”
Police are pointing to warmer weather and cheaper gas prices compared to last summer.
“That puts a lot of people on the water,” said Thompson. “The more people on the water, the greater chance we’re going to have fatalities.”
Police are hoping these traumatic accidents serve as a permanent reminder to practice water safety, which starts with wearing a life jacket.
“We step up our enforcement on the weekends,” said Thompson. “But there’s only so much we can do.”
Police say they’re monitoring hot spots that draw boaters on the weekends, but they have very limited resources.
DNR Police say the investigation into Friday’s accident is still ongoing.